BRICS is an acronym for the grouping of the world’s leading emerging economies, namely Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
The BRICS Leaders’ Summit is convened annually.
BRICS does not exist in form of organization, but it is an annual summit between the supreme leaders of five nations.
The Chairmanship of the forum is rotated annually among the members, in accordance with the acronym B-R-I-C-S.
BRICS cooperation in the past decade has expanded to include an annual programme of over 100 sectoral meetings.
Together, BRICS accounts for about 40% of the world’s population and about 30% of the GDP (Gross Domestic Product), making it a critical economic engine.
It’s an emerging investment market and global power bloc.
The BRICS seeks to deepen, broaden and intensify cooperation within the grouping and among the individual countries for more sustainable, equitable and mutually beneficial development.
BRICS takes into consideration each member’s growth, development and poverty objectives to ensure relations are built on the respective country’s economic strengths and to avoid competition where possible.
BRICS is emerging as a new and promising political-diplomatic entity with diverse objectives, far beyond the original objective of reforming global financial institutions.
Impacts of BRICS on global institutional reforms
The main reason for co-operation to start among the BRICs nation was the financial crises of 2008. The crises raised doubts over sustainability of the dollar-dominated monetary system.
The BRICs called for the “the reform of multilateral institutions in order that they reflect the structural changes in the world economy and the increasingly central role that emerging markets now play”.
BRICs managed to push for institutional reform which led to International Monetary Fund (IMF) quota reform in 2010. Thus the financial crises had momentarily reduced western legitimacy and briefly let the BRICs countries become “agenda setters” in multilateral institutions.
New Development Bank
NDB is headquartered in Shanghai.
At the Fourth BRICS Summit in New Delhi (2012) the possibility of setting up a new Development Bank was considered to mobilize resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other emerging economies, as well as in developing countries.
During the Sixth BRICS Summit in Fortaleza (2014) the leaders signed the Agreement establishing the New Development Bank (NDB).
Fortaleza Declarationstressed that the NDB will strengthen cooperation among BRICS and will supplement the efforts of multilateral and regional financial institutions for global development thus contributing to sustainable and balanced growth.
NDB’s key areas of operation are clean energy, transport infrastructure, irrigation, sustainable urban development and economic cooperation among the member countries.
The NDB functions on a consultative mechanism among the BRICS members with all the member countries possessing equal rights.
The marked dominance of big three Russia-China-India is challenge for the BRICS as it moves ahead. To become a true representative of large emerging markets across the world, BRICS must become pan-continental. Its membership must include more countries from other regions and continents.
The BRICS will need to expand its agenda for increasing its relevance in the global order. As of now, climate change and development finance, aimed at building infrastructure dominate agenda.
As BRICS moves forward foundational principles of BRICS i.e. respect for sovereign equality and pluralism in global governance are liable to be tested as the five member countries pursue their own national agendas.
The military standoff between India and China on the Doklam plateau, which has effectively brought to an end the naive notion that a comfortable political relationship is always possible amongst the BRICS members.
China’s efforts to co-opt nation states, which are integral to its Belt and Road Initiative, into a broader political arrangement has potential to cause conflict among BRICS members especially China and India.