Another Bloc-To-Bloc Confrontation
As the Russia-Ukraine war drags on, there is a possibility of a rift developing within the BRICS, the group of five major emerging economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. After the 14th BRICS Summit hosted by China in virtual mode on June 23-24, 2022, diplomats observed a shift in the centre of gravity of this group with the changing geo-strategic situation.
BRIC was formed in 2009 with Brazil, Russia, India and China. A couple of years later, it became BRICS as South Africa joined the group. Argentina and Iran recently applied to join the BRICS. China has always been eager to expand this group. However, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs is of the opinion that the very base of the group, which was created as a platform for economic, commercial, security and cultural cooperation between the member states, has been damaged. A senior official of the Indian ministry, who wished to remain anonymous, has said that China is seemingly trying to use the BRICS as an anti-US and anti-West platform. As Russia is backing China, it has become increasingly difficult for India to maintain a (diplomatic) balance.
Although BRICS has made significant progress in trade and commercial sectors (such as setting up the BRICS Development Bank) since 2009, the group is yet to get success in security and political issues. The Foreign Ministers of the member countries meet every year, but they reach no consensus. Ahead of the 2022 BRICS Summit, China put a last-minute block on a joint proposal by India and the US at the UN to designate Pakistan-based terrorist Abdul Rehman Makki as a Global Terrorist under the ISIS and al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council (also known as the UNSC 1267). Just a day earlier, five member countries, including China and India, agreed on counter-terrorism measures at the BRICS Annual Meeting on Security.
Currently, China and Russia are trying to change their respective economic and security perspectives, posing a serious existential threat to the BRICS. In his inaugural speech, Chinese President Xi Jinping portrayed an one-sided image of Global Affairs, blasting the West for adopting aggressive foreign policy. He also urged BRICS members to stand up against military alliances formed by the US and its Western allies. Most importantly, President Xi called on the BRICS member states to join the Global Security Alliance, announced by Beijing after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. He argued that the Global Community should join hands to fight against the Western influence (dominated by the US).
Naturally, the growing influence of China and Russia in BRICS has started creating troubles for India. India is cautious about the hopes and aspirations of all the Developing Nations. At the same time, the South Asian nation also maintains similar strategic relations with Russia and the US through multilateral diplomacy. In recent times, New Delhi has taken various steps to strengthen trade and strategic ties with Europe. Hence, the struggle between India and China for power and existence within the BRICS is all set to begin. According to some experts, this struggle could lead to a rift in this group. It is to be noted that the BRICS members are known for their significant influence on global affairs. Since 2009, the Governments of the BRICS States have met annually at formal summits.
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