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Expansion of BRICS has a clear message–Global South is all set to drive the global agenda

All eyes on BRICS' expansion next year

The imminent expansion of the BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa) bloc could be a game changer. Albeit a slow starter, the group-set up in 2001, is now gaining momentum with several countries including Saudi Arabia, Iran, and UAE set to join the group. The expansion reflects a clear shift in power play as the Global South now gains a credible voice on the world stage. Most importantly, the BRICS play an important role in global food security.

This has naturally led to growing concerns among many developed economies.

Public policy think tank, the American Security Project last year in its report said that “the possible addition of these countries to BRICS should concern the West as all are significant players in the global economy.” It underlined that countries in the “Global South are losing faith in the Western world order, as the US pays less and less attention to developing nations.”

The Russia-Ukraine war and the stringent sanctions on Moscow have only underscored the need to have an alternative yet credible grouping of countries with the focus on common economic needs.

“The founding myth of the emerging economies has faded,” Günther Maihold, deputy director of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs told the German state owned news organisation Deutsche Welle. “The BRICS countries are experiencing their geopolitical moment,” Maihold said.

While the jury is still out on whether or not the BRICS will succeed in becoming a formidable force in the world with China playing a dominant role, a government official told India Narrative that Beijing is already part of many groups including the G20 and Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). “Therefore there is no reason to believe that BRICS will not succeed,” he said.

Even in the present state, the BRICS nations, home to 42 per cent of the global population, account for 25.7 per cent of world GDP.

Amid the rapidly changing geopolitical dynamics, the BRICS bloc is also looking at developing a new reserve currency based on a basket of currencies of the member nations. Though the Financial Times has been quick to point out that the exercise will not be a success as this will increase the member nations’ dependence on China, a government official pointed out that “serious deliberations” over the need to set up alternate payment modes on the international platform are underway.

Last year Prime Minister Narendra Modi, speaking at the BRICS Business Forum said that the emerging economies would be the engine of global growth and the BRICS forum was set up to drive this. “Today as the world focuses on post Covid recovery, the role and contribution of the BRICS countries will be crucial,” he said.

Aravind Yelery, senior research fellow at the Peking University and visiting faculty at Fudan University in Shanghai told India Narrative that China has always been “extremely keen to see BRICS’ success.”

“The changing geopolitical shift has only been a push in this direction as more and more countries now realise that there is more to the G7 bloc,” an analyst said.

Also read: BRICS can become the engine driving the global economy in the post-Covid phase–PM Modi