07 Sep 2023 BRICS Expansion and Its Implications
This article covers “Daily Current Affairs” and the topic details “BRICS Expansion and Its Implications”. The topic “BRICS Expansion and Its Implications” has relevance in the “International Relations” section of the UPSC CSE exam.
What is BRICS?
Who are the new entrants?
GS2: International Relations
Why in the news?
Recently, the BRICS Grouping of Nations expanded to include six more nations.
- In a landmark decision at the 15th BRICS summit in Johannesburg, current members of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) announced the inclusion of six new countries into the fold:
- Saudi Arabia
- This expansion, 13 years after South Africa joined in 2010, signifies a significant development in the geopolitical landscape.
- Prime Minister Modi emphasised that adding these new members would bolster the grouping’s strength and further endorse the Concept of a multipolar world order.
- This expansion carries profound implications, including economic clout, energy sector impact, geostrategic significance, and a commitment to reshaping international institutions and global politics.
Implications of BRICS Expansion
- Global Economic Influence:
- With the addition of new members, BRICS is projected to represent 46% of the world’s population and contribute 37% of the global GDP in PPP terms.
- This substantial economic power places BRICS ahead of the G-7, which accounts for 30.7% of global GDP. This shift signifies a redistribution of global economic influence and challenges the dominance of Western economies.
- The combined GDP of BRICS members will increase in future, further challenging the dominance of Western economies. This could lead to a shift in economic power dynamics on the global stage.
- Energy Sector:
- The expansion will significantly impact the energy sector, as the new members are significant oil and gas industry players.
- The earlier five BRICS members accounted for 20% of global oil output, which will now rise to 42%.
- This could reshape global energy markets and alter the dynamics of energy supply and demand.
- Geostrategic Importance:
- Including countries from West Asia, such as Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Iran, adds considerable geostrategic value to BRICS.
- These countries are major players in the energy sector and have geopolitical significance. Their involvement could strengthen BRICS’ influence in the Middle East and beyond.
- Reform of International Institutions:
- BRICS members have consistently advocated for reforms in international organisations like the UN, IMF, and World Bank.
- The expanded BRICS could exert more pressure for implementing these reforms, potentially leading to changes in these institutions’ structure and decision-making processes.
- Shared Political Goals:
- BRICS members often share common positions on global political issues. They prioritise the centrality of the United Nations, address conflicts in West Asia and Ukraine, and cooperate on counterterrorism efforts.
- The expansion will likely align more countries with these positions, potentially increasing their impact on global affairs.
- Multipolar World Order:
- BRICS represents a challenge to the unipolar world order dominated by the West. With its diverse membership, the expanded grouping will assert its strategic autonomy in a multipolar world.
- This could lead to a more balanced power distribution and influence among global actors.
- Economic Cooperation:
- BRICS has been increasingly focused on intra-BRICS economic cooperation and outreach to other developing countries.
- This could lead to the developing of new trade and investment partnerships and initiatives among the member countries, potentially benefiting their respective economies.
Challenges and Criticisms:
- Internal Differences and Competition: BRICS grapples with internal differences and competition among its members, stemming from divergent national interests and economic priorities.
- Lack of Clear Vision: Critics often label BRICS a “talk shop” due to its perceived lack of a coherent and concrete vision beyond general calls for international institutional reform.
- Coordination Challenges: Coordinating policies among diverse member countries can hinder BRICS’ ability to respond effectively to global challenges and pursue joint initiatives.
- Western Skepticism: BRICS’ emergence as a counterbalance to Western dominance has raised scepticism from Western countries, potentially hindering support for its initiatives and reforms.
- Need for Concrete Achievements: Critics argue that BRICS fails to deliver concrete achievements that match its potential, often issuing joint declarations without substantial impact on global affairs.
Geopolitical Implications for India:
- India’s perspective on BRICS emphasizes it as a forum for cooperation and dialogue among emerging economies. It views BRICS as a means to foster economic collaboration and diplomatic engagement rather than positioning it as an explicitly anti-Western bloc.
- The recent expansion of BRICS challenges India’s stance within the organisation. India may be hesitant about welcoming new members who align closely with China’s vision for BRICS, potentially complicating its role and influence.
Despite these challenges, India recognises the importance of maintaining engagement with BRICS. It remains a valuable platform for advancing its global economic interests and ensuring its voice is heard on critical international issues. India’s approach to BRICS requires a delicate balance between asserting its vision for the group and navigating the evolving dynamics within the organisation.
Q1. With reference to BRICS, consider the following statements:
- The expanded BRICS is expected to account for more than half of the world’s population.
- The BRICS is projected to have a much larger share of the world’s GDP than the G-20.
- BRICS now has representation from every continent except Antarctica.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 2 only
Q2. Discuss the implications of the recent expansion of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) for the prevailing world order. Analyze the challenges and divergent goals faced within the BRICS grouping.