Addressing the recently held 11th BRICS Conference, the Indian Prime Minister termed India as the world’s most favorable economy for investment and urged BRICS traders to invest in India. It is known that the 11th BRICS Conference of the year 2019 was held on 13-14 November 2019 in the Brazilian capital of Brazil. The theme of the BRICS conference this year was “Economic Growth for an Innovative Future”. It is noteworthy that BRICS is a group of five countries which is responsible for about 50 percent economic growth of the world.
11th BRICS Conference and India
- Strengthen cooperation in the fields of science, technology and innovation
- Expanding cooperation on digital economy
- Cooperation against international crime, mainly organized crime, money laundering and drug traffic
- Incentive for coordination between New Development Bank (NDB) and BRICS Trade Council
- During the conference, Prime Minister Modi suggested to identify at least five areas for joint venture between BRICS countries before the next BRICS Summit.
- In addition, the Indian Prime Minister also held bilateral talks with representatives from Brazil, Russia and China.
- India and Brazil: Bilateral talks between the representatives of India and Brazil took place on 13 November and during this time, President of Brazil, Zaire Bolsonaro also accepted the invitation to visit India on 26 January 2020 on the occasion of Republic Day. During their bilateral talks, it was also agreed to broaden the strategic partnership between the two countries.
- India and China: Prime Minister Modi and President Xi Jinping also held bilateral talks on the occasion of the 11th summit. The President of China praised India for the second informal summit held in Mamallapuram and also invited the Indian Prime Minister to visit China for the third informal summit in 2020. Apart from this, the two leaders also reviewed preparations for the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and China in the year 2020.
- India and Russia: During the conference, talks were also organized between the representatives of India and Russia. During the talks, the two representatives reviewed the progress made in bilateral relations between the two countries since Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Vladivostok in September 2019. Apart from this, he also decided to set up a bilateral regional forum to remove trade barriers at the regional level between the Russian provinces and the Indian states in 2020. Prime Minister Modi also accepted the invitation of the Russian President to participate in Russia’s Victory Day celebrations in 2020.
What is BRICS?
- BRICS is an acronym used for a group of the world’s leading emerging economies – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, with B-Brazil, R-Russia, I-India, C-China and S -South Africa.
- In the initial period South Africa was not part of this group and it was a group of only 4 countries called BRIC, the first BRIC summit was held in Russia in the year 2009.
- In December 2010, South Africa was invited to join the BRIC (South Africa), after which South Africa attended the third summit held in China and the group briefly adopted BRICS (BRICS).
Cooperation in BRICS countries
Economic and financial support
- New Development Bank (NDB), which was founded at the sixth BRICS Summit in Fortaleza (Brazil) in 2014, is the most prominent example of economic and financial cooperation between BRICS countries. It was established for the implementation of infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other emerging economies as well as developing countries. NDB is headquartered in Shanghai, China. It has its first regional office in Johannesburg, South Africa.
- In addition, the BRICS nations agreed to form the BRICS Contingency Reserve (CRA) during the sixth BRICS summit in 2014, in view of the prospects of the global financial crisis. The objective of the CRA is to provide short-term monetary support to members through currency exchange to help mitigate the situation of balance of payment crisis and strengthen financial stability. The CRA has an initial capacity of $ 100 billion, including $ 41 billion from China, $ 18 billion from Brazil, $ 18 billion from Russia, $ 18 billion from India and $ 5 billion from South Africa.
- The BRICS Health Cooperation began in 2011 with the first meeting of the Health Ministers of the BRICS countries. Cooperation in the health sector has made it possible to identify common health problems among all BRICS countries such as occurrence of infectious diseases, lack of equal access to medical services and medicines.
- A significant achievement of BRICS in this area can also be considered the Tuberculosis Research Network. The purpose of this network is to promote joint research and development initiatives on the fight against tuberculosis.
Science, Technology and Innovation
- Cooperation in the field of science, technology and innovation began in 2014 with the first ministerial meeting on the subject. This meeting yielded very significant results in terms of exchange and availability of resources for research projects. So far, 11 working groups have been set up for cooperation in this field, which are working in different fields such as water resources management, biotechnology and bio-medicine etc.
- The meetings of the National Security Advisors (NSAs) of member countries and groups working on security issues are an important part of the BRICS dialogue in the field of security. In these meetings, all members exchange their views on threats to international security and international crimes such as drug trafficking, cyber attacks, money laundering, corruption and terrorism etc. In the same year, the Joint Working Group on Terrorism of BRICS has decided to set up five sub-task forces keeping in mind issues such as terrorist financing, use of Internet for terrorist purposes and bigotry.
- The BRICS Business Council and the Business Forum are the main mechanisms for business cooperation within this group. The Business Council was established in 2013 during the Durban Conference in South Africa. The main objective of its establishment is to bring together the business communities of the five countries and explore new business opportunities. At present, there are a total of 9 working groups in the council, mainly related to infrastructure, manufacturing, energy, agribusiness, financial services, regional aviation, capacity level cohesion and capacity development etc.
Importance of BRICS
- Significantly, as a group, BRICS brings together five major emerging economies with 42 percent of the world’s population.
- According to the data for the year 2018, these five countries account for about 23 percent of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP) and about 17 percent of the world trade.
- BRICS countries have a major contribution in global development, trade and investment, making it an important pillar of the global system.
- The growing contribution of BRICS to the world economy has created many opportunities for new initiatives which can prove to be helpful in sustainable and inclusive growth.
- The Iran deal and America’s withdrawal from the INF Treaty pose a major threat to global peace. BRICS can play an important role in ensuring world peace by being active in dispute resolution based on the principle of fairness.
- BRICS also has an important role in fighting poverty globally.
Challenges of BRICS
- Critics of the BRICS group claim that the diversity of the BRICS nations, the viability of the group can pose a threat to its interests.
- All BRICS countries trade less with each other and more with China, so many times there have been allegations that this platform is being used more to promote China’s interests than other countries. Note that reducing trade deficit with China is a major challenge for other partner countries.
- Many negotiations have failed due to opposition to the approach with the US, which hinders the economic expansion of BRICS countries.
- Lack of policy coordination within member states has been observed due to political differences among some members. For example, India-China relations have witnessed constant tension over the years.
- During the year 1996 to 2008, the share of BRIC countries in world exports increased from 9 percent to 17 percent, which is a big for this group.
- Many experts consider the formation of NDB as an important achievement of BRICS, as at present this institution is considered to be of the level of large institutions like IMF and World Bank.
- Economic capacity and demographic development have proved to be very helpful in advancing BRICS countries, enabling these countries to influence global politics. India, China and Russia are prime examples.
India and BRICS
- It is known that with its inception, India has played an important and active role in it. India has always been giving importance to the BRICS platform to promote global economic development, peace and stability.
- Cooperation on the economic front has always been a major focus of India’s policy towards BRICS. India sees BRICS as a platform for building multilateral relations with Latin American, African and Asian countries.
- India has also tried to use BRICS as a platform to resolve its centuries-old complex relationship with China.
- Also, India has played an important role in the establishment of New Development Bank (NDB). BRICS has an important role in addressing India’s food and energy security issues and combating terrorism.
BRICS Common Payment System
- A common payment system is being discussed among BRICS countries.
- Significantly, the main objective of this system is to reduce the dependence of BRICS countries on the US dollar and to use their national currencies in mutual trade.
- When this system is created, this BRICS payment system will encourage payment in the national currency among the member countries and will ensure permanent payment and investment among all countries.
- The BRICS Trade Council has also supported Russia’s initiative to create a coordination center for mutual investment within the BRICS block.
BRICS and UN reforms
- The member countries of the BRICS group have always emphasized the urgent need to strengthen and reform large multilateral organizations such as the United Nations to deal with the challenges facing developing countries.
- The Joint Statement of the 11th Summit also states that “We reiterate the 2005 World Summit document and reaffirm the need for comprehensive reform to make the United Nations effective and efficient and to increase its representation
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