BRICS needs further expansion to thrive as global body
BRICS needed expansion for its survival as all its key members, baring India, are in serious crisis ranging from credibility, economy and conflict. Bharat can morph the bloc to reflect its global vision
BRICS got the much-needed infusion of fresh blood by admitting six new member nations, Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, to the bloc that is said to be a counterweight to the West.
However, given the series of serious crisis, ranging from loss of credibility internationally, economic collapse, and needless conflict, faced by some of the key members of the grouping, baring India, the BRICS’s survival as an international body is under severe threat.
Jim O Neill, a Goldman Sachs economist, had coined the term BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) in 2001, and he had predicted that these fast-growing economies would “collectively dominate the global economy by 2050.” The bloc BRIC - the original acronym comprising four primary countries, was formed in 2009 and later expanded to admit South Africa in 2010, thus the current BRICS. However, much has changed in the fortunes of the original four BRIC members in the past two decades, forcing the grouping to bring in new members for survival.
CRISIS WITHIN BRICS
Brazil’s back-to-back financial troubles
Between 2000 and 2012, this Football-loving nation was one of the fastest-growing major economies in the world, with an average annual GDP growth rate of over 5 per cent. Its GDP surpassed the United Kingdom’s in 2012, temporarily making Brazil the world’s sixth-largest economy. However, it was hit by a series of financial crisis too. In 2008, the nation saw the flight of capital from its market. Between 2014 and 2016, it suffered the “worst recessions in history,” according to the Business Cycle Dating Committee of (Codace) of the Getulio Vargas Foundation. The seventh most populous nation is plagued with serious crimes; muggings, robberies, kidnappings, and gang violence are common. Its economic growth rate is projected to come down to 1.2 per cent in 2023 due to elevated interest rates and a lower contribution from net exports.
China’s loss of credibility
The dragon nation enjoyed a free run across the globe ever since the “one-way” opening of its economy to the world in the late 70s. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development(OECD), in a report titled “OECD SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY AND INDUSTRY OUTLOOK 2010,” said China’s “average annual GDP growth was 13 per cent between 2000 and 2008”, which was fueled by the “restructuring of China’s economy” that lead it to become world’s second-largest economy after the United States. Then came the year 2020, when the world went into lockdown that saw nations melt into a financial crisis and the human race facing its worst nightmare, a nearly man-eats-man situation. The worldwide crisis unveiled China’s dark side- its self-regarding attitude- While this trait was not unfamiliar to the world, given its larger-than-life image, it was not flagged. As the Wuhan virus, originating from China, unleashed its wrath on humankind, leaving millions dead, and the Chinese debt trap diplomacy left a mound of failed nations. Whatever goodwill was left of the Dragon nation was wiped out by President Xi’s “Wolf Warriors” with their confrontational behaviour. Today, the Great Wall is near collapse under the weight of a real estate crisis, a larger debt crisis and record joblessness among young people. China has not only lost its economic mojo but also its credibility.
Russia: Concedes penalty shootout, then scores self-goal
Everything was going in its favour between 2002 and 2014 for Moscow till it conceded a diplomatic and financial penalty shootout by annexation of Crimea.
Russia radically transformed from a Soviet-style economy to a “globally integrated market economy.” It came to be regarded as the “energy superpower” due to its enormous natural resources, particularly oil and natural gas. Between 2000 and 2012, the rising commodity prices significantly boosted the nation’s economy. Its GDP grew on average 7 per cent per year, which resulted in a doubling of disposable income, thus fuelling private consumption. In the same period, “unemployment and poverty more than halved,” resulting in people living below the poverty line “declining from 30 per cent in 2000 to 14 per cent in 2008.”
Then came the year 2014 when Putin decided to annex the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine, akin to conceding a penalty shootout to the West, and then the former KGB officer went on to score a self-goal in 2022 by engaging in a full-on conventional war by invading Ukraine. Under the international sanctions imposed by the United States, the European Union, Canada and Japan, it suffers economically. Still, importantly -today, Moscow is diplomatically cornered and heavily relies on Beijing, whose own international standing is under question.
Rise of Ancient Bharat
India is often called an ‘elephant’ -the largest and strongest land animal known for intelligence and memory worked its way up the global economic and diplomatic ladder. From the Tsunamis of 2004 in Indonesia, the global coronavirus crisis in 2020, to the Turkey earthquake in 2023, the ancient civilization earned international recognition as a dependable nation. From vaccines to UPI technology, it has offered everything in the interest of humankind. The successful Moon landing on the South Pole cemented its stature as an emerging superpower with a human heart.
BRICS needed fresh blood for survival
Bharat, like the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket, couldn’t have been the workhorse of BRICS for long, given that there is little hope in the revival of the fortunes of distressed members in coming years. Thus, the much-needed expansion of the bloc is far from being an “anti-Western platform.”
Even though the expansion of BRICS is seen as an advantage to China, given its proximity to new members. Still, from India’s standpoint, morphing the bloc into a Global South Platform will fit into its vision for the region that promotes a more equitable and just world order, fosters international cooperation, and advances its own strategic and economic interests in a multi-polar world.
(The author is Founder of My Startup TV)