BRICS – A Brief History
- BRICS is an acronym for an association of 5 major countries: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. It was established in 2009.
- As of 2015, the 5 BRICS countries represent over 3.6 billion people or about 41% of world population
- The BRICS members are all leading developed or newly industrialized countries but are distinguished by their fast-growing economies.
- All the 5 countries are G-20 members.
- 9th BRICS summit was hosted on 3rd, 4th and 5th Sep in Xiamen, China. The theme was “Stronger Partnership for brighter future”.
- At the end of the summit, BRICS leaders adopted Xiamen declaration.
- World Bank expects BRICS growth to pick up to 5.3% in 2017.
Documents signed in presence of BRICS leaders
- Strategic Framework of BRICS Customs Cooperation
- BRICS Action Plan for Innovation Cooperation(2017-2020)
- BRICS Action Agenda on Economic and Trade Cooperation
- MoU between BRICS Business Council and New Development Bank on Strategic Cooperation
Features of Xiamen declaration
- Strive towards broad partnerships: BRICS countries agreed to strive towards broad partnerships with emerging markets and developing countries and pursue equal-footed and flexible practices and initiatives for dialogue and cooperation with non-BRICS countries, including through BRICS Plus cooperation (It includes Thailand, Tajikistan, Egypt, Kenya and Mexico).
- BRICS local currency bond markets: Member countries resolved to promote the development of BRICS local currency bond markets and agreed to jointly establish a BRICS local currency bond fund and facilitate financial market integration. They will also encourage explorations towards the establishment of the BRICS Institute of Future Networks.
- R&D and innovation in ITC: They agreed to enhance joint research, development and innovation in information and communications technology (ICT), including internet of things (IoT), big data, data analytics, cloud computing, nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, 5G and their innovative applications.
- Cooperation on energy: They agreed to strengthen the BRICS cooperation on energy and work to foster open, flexible and transparent markets for energy commodities and technologies.
- Promote effective use of fossil fuels: They also agreed to work together to promote the most effective use of fossil fuels and wider use of gas, hydro and nuclear power to move towards low emission economy, better energy access and sustainable development.
- BRICS Agriculture Research Platform: It is proposed to be established in India which will serve as virtual network facilitating cooperation in priority areas.
- Broad counterterrorism coalition: They called upon the international community to establish genuinely broad counterterrorism coalition and support UN’s central coordinating role in this regard.
- People-to-people exchanges: It should be promoted for development and enhancing mutual understanding, friendship and cooperation among BRICS countries.
Pakistan at Crossroads
- A Russian diplomat went on to state that the naming of terror groups is an important breakthrough for countries sharing terror concerns in the region. This clearly implies that Russia would support India in its dealings with Pakistan. The BRICS statement automatically gave Russia diplomatic leverage over Pakistan.
- Russian support for the Indian stand on Pakistan-based terror groups, as was evident in the BRICS statement, is likely to put pressure on Pakistan to begin curbing terror groups operating from its soil. Russia is unlikely to give Pakistan a free run in its future endeavors of launching terror strikes in India
- While China and Russia come to its aid against US sanctions, Pakistan will be the loser if terror activities increase on its soil. Hence, it would need to walk a tightrope – and has its own internal problems restricting its actions.
- For India, this is a diplomatic opportunity to engage positively with Russia to ensure that pressure continues to be built on the Pakistan to control anti-India terror groups if it desires Moscow’s support against possible US sanctions. We need to look ahead and take advantage of the position Pakistan is in, ensuring those it considers allies force it to act against terror. Diplomatic slumber now would let this opportunity pass into the sunset.