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What’s in store for BRICS under Russia’s chair after Argentina opts out?

All eyes on BRICS' expansion next year

As Russia gears up to acquire the BRICS presidency for 2024, all eyes will be on the expansion of the bloc. To begin with, Argentina, which was officially to join the group next year, has decided to opt out under its new President Javier Milei.

In August, the five member BRICS—Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa at the 15th summit held in Johannesburg decided to expand the bloc by inviting six new countries– Argentina, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Iran, Egypt, and Ethiopia. However, with the new regime, Buenos Aires is set to stay out.

From August — when the BRICS bloc decided to expand the bloc– to now, global polity has undergone major shifts especially in the aftermath of the Israel Hamas war and the elections in Argentina.

The other countries — Saudi Arabia, UAE, Iran, Egypt, and Ethiopia are expected to formally join the group.

“The work will now move towards making sure that all BRICS member states in the new extended format decide on the format of their participation, in what way they will cooperate with BRICS and so on,” Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Latin American Department Alexander Shchetinin told Russian news agency TASS last month.

Meanwhile, the sixth BRICS Sherpa meeting will take place in Durban in South Africa between November 30 and December 3.

The meeting will be attended not only by the current members but also representatives of the new member countries.

“It will be interesting to see what the current members and the new countries have to say in the new geopolitical order..in the last three months the world has witnessed major shifts,” an analyst said. “In this context, Russia’s presidency will be assessed and Moscow will have to play the game carefully,” he added.

“The purpose of the meeting is to reflect on South Africa’s tenure as Chair of BRICS for the year 2023 and to prepare for a handover to the next Chair, the Russian Federation,” South African foreign ministry said in a statement.

Earlier, Oilrpice.com in a report said that a “mutual skepticism” binds the BRICS countries which are spread across continents with distinctive economic models. “They question a world order seemingly skewed towards the interests of the US and its allies. An order they believe sets global norms that the West expects others to follow, without always adhering to them themselves,” it said.

Amid the rapidly changing geopolitical dynamics, the role of the expanded bloc will be scrutinised minutely.

Also read: Why Iran is feeling ‘victorious’ on its entry in the BRICS