BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa)

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BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa)

This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.


What is BRICS? A primer

BRICS represents 42% of world's population, September 4, 2017: The Times of India

What is BRICS?

The term “BRIC was coined by Goldman Sachs Group's chief economist Jim O'Neill in 2001 when he identified Brazil, Russia, India and China as the top emerging markets where investors could put their money . A report published later in 2003 by the finance company stated that if things went in the right direction, this group would in the future be the largest financial bloc beating the dominance of western economies. The first BRIC summit took place in 2006 on the margins of the general debate of the 61st session of the UN General AsLEAR sembly . The first indeWI pendent summit took THE T place in 2009 in Russia and it has become an annual affair since then. In 2010, when Chi na, while holding the chair, invited South Africa to join the group, it became BRICS. Within a decade of the coining of the word, the rosy picture started crumbling and in a 2015 interview, O' Neill said that he would no longer group the BRIC countries together.

Is BRICS a grouping like G7?

The G7 was formed after 1973 oil crisis. In 1975, six industri alised economies France, West Germany , Italy, Japan, UK, and US -formed a forum to dis cuss economic issues.

The group was joined by NG Canada and became the H G7, later called the G8 af ES ter the inclusion of Rus sia for a brief period. The Eu ropean Union is also repre sented at the G7 by president of European Commission and by leader of the country that holds EU presidency . EU, however, does not take part in political discussions. While BRICS is a group of emerging economies, the G7 is seen as a club of rich nations.

What is the G20?

The G20 is a forum of govern ments and central bank governors of industrialised as well as developing economies that gather to discuss key issues of the global economy . Along with G7 and BRICS members, it also has Argentina, Australia, Indonesia, South Korea, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Turkey along with the EU as its members. The group was formed after the 1997 Asian financial crisis that threatened a widespread financial meltdown and it was felt that a forum where G7 nations could discuss the status of the global economy with emerging countries was needed. The group had its first meeting in 1999.

How big are these groups?

Macroeconomic data shows the G7 indeed is a rich man's club as the group accounts for 10% of the world's population but 46% of global GDP . Naturally, its per capita income of $45,453 is the highest among the three groups. BRICS, on the other hand, represents 42% of the world's population and accounts for 22% of GDP . The G20 is biggest of the three in terms of population and GDP but lies between BRICS and G7 in terms of per capita income.

BRICS summits

Goa, 2016: India’s gains, losses

Sachin Parashar, What India lost, what it gained in Goa, Oct 20 2016 : The Times of India

Diplomacy Of Outrage Over Terror Failed, But Claim To NSG Seat Got Fillip At Brics Meet

Brics exposed the limitations of Delhi's diplomacy of outrage in dealing with cross-border terror, but the government did manage to generate what it sees as a favourable response to India's NSG membership bid.

Top government sources said it was at India's insistence that the declaration included a paragraph saying that nuclear energy was going to play an important role in allowing some Brics nations to meet their Paris climate change agreement commitments.

“We recognise that nuclear energy will play a significant role for some of the Brics countries in meeting their 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement commitments and for reducing global greenhouse gas emissions in the long term,“ said the declaration.

“In this regard, we underline the importance of predictability in accessing technology and finance for expansion of civil nuclear energy capaci ty which would contribute to the sustainable development of Brics countries,“ it added.

This, a top government official said, was “exactly the language used by India for entry into NSG“.

While the Goa declaration does not in any way dilute China's position that India can't join the NSG as a non-NPT signatory , it underscores the significance of India's bid before it comes up for reconsideration at a possible NSG meeting next month, the official said.

India finally ratified the Paris pact on Gandhi Jayanti.In June, though, after its membership campaign came unstuck at the NSG meeting in Seoul mainly because of China, India had threatened to delay the ratification.

India is the only Brics country which is not a member of the 48-nation group. In what Delhi sees as a delaying tactic, a handful of countries led by China have sought a criteria-based approach in considering membership applications. India instead wants a merit-based approach. In do ing that, India is seeking an acknowledgement of what it describes as its impeccable non-proliferation credentials.

Chinese President Xi Jinping remained non-committal on support for India in a meeting with PM Narendra Modi on Saturday on the sidelines of the Brics summit, merely saying that the second round of dialogue over the issue would soon take place between the two countries.

Brazilian President Michel Temer acknowledged India's aspiration in a bilateral meeting with Modi on the sidelines of the same summit.Modi thanked Temer for Brazil's “understanding“ of India's aspirations. Brazil, however, is not among the group of countries who are seeking a one-off waiver for India to allow it to become a member.

2016: The Chinese press on India’s diplomatic gains

PTI, India outmanoeuvred Pak at Brics: Chinese media, Oct 2016

India has “outmanoeuvred“ Pakistan by effectively branding it as a “regional pariah“ during the Goa Brics-Bimstec summit where the country presented itself as a “bright spot“, strengthening its case for the NSG membership and a permanent seat in the UNSC, state-run Chinese media said on Sunday .

“Given the uneasy background of Indo-Pak tension, which escalated last month, India's inclusion of Bimstec (the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) bore even thicker geostrategic connotations,“ an article in the state-run Global Times said.

“As India invited all countries in the region except Pakistan, it in effect consigned Pakistan to be a regional pariah,“ the article titled `India uses Brics to outmanoeuvre Pakistan', said.

Referring to India's decision not to attend the Saarc summit in Islamabad after the Uri attack, it said: “The collapse of the summit presented India a rare opportunity to get rid of any constraints Islamabad may have over the grouping, as the same group would soon gather in Goa in the absence of Pakistan.“ Bimstec also made a major difference for India at the Goa summit, it said. By bringing regional co untries together with the major emerging economies of the BRICS, the daily said, India breathed legitimacy and substance into an otherwise “hallow and moribund acronym organisation“.

Xiamen, China, 2017: India's gains, losses

2017: Declaration

Saibal Dasgupta, In a first, BRICS nations name Pakistan-based terror groups, Sep 5, 2017: The Times of India

Lashkar, Jaish Mentioned In Declaration

In a significant concession, China agreed to include specific references to Pakistan-based anti-India terror groups Lashkar-eTaiba and Jaish-e-Muhammed in the BRICS declaration even though it has consistently blocked India's attempt to get the UN to sanction Jaish chief Maulana Masood Azhar.

The references to JeM and Lashkar, which enjoy the sup port of the Pakistan army and ISI, amount to a setback to China's “all-weather“ ally as the previous BRICS outcome document at Goa had omitted naming the terror groups.

“We support the efforts of the Afghan national defence and security forces in fighting terrorist organisations,“ the declaration said. “We, in this regard, express concern on the security situation in the region and violence caused by the Taliban, ISILDaesh, alQaida and its affiliates, including Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the Haqqani network, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Muhammed, TTP and Hizb ut-Tahrir,“ it said. The inclusion of TTP (Tehreek-e-Taliban Pa kistan) is unlikely to reduce the embarrassment for Pakistan as the naming of its terror proxies will be seen as a gain for PM Modi, who has succeeded at the BRICS meeting in Xiamen after being stalled at Goa. Officials agreed the BRICS declaration was a tactical concession by China, and came about largely because other BRICS members were clear that terror groups had to be uniformly condemned. This was important for India given that both LeT and JeM continue to attack targets in India from their bases in Pakistan.

The naming shows the inconsistency of China shooting down the UN Security Council's efforts to list Jaish chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist as it agreed to place Jaish on a par with the so-called IS and al-Qaida. Many of these groups find shelter and sanctuary in Pakistan, supported by the notorious ISI. China, which has invested in Afghanistan as well, was unable to support the actions of the Haqqani network, which is now almost interchangeable with the Taliban. “For the first time (in a BRICS declaration), there has been specific listing of terror organisations,“ Preeti Saran, joint secretary (east) at the ministry of external affairs, told journalists at Xiamen.

The declaration has paved the way for a positive meeting between Modi and Xi Jinping, which is expected to take place at 10am IST on Tuesday , just before Modi leaves for Myanmar. The bilateral is the first meeting of the leaders after the Doklam resolution and will be keenly watched. They are expected to discuss bilateral issues, though it's unclear whether border resolution is one of them.


Russia persuaded China on Pak- terrorism

Sachin Parashar, Russia hand in BRICS terror rap on Pak, Sep 12, 2017: The Times of India

Russia has hailed the Xiamen BRICS Declaration and its naming of Pakistan-based terror groups as a victory for countries concerned about terrorism in South Asia. Despite it being seen as defending Pakistan from US pressure on the issue, Moscow's position on Islamabad has been quite nuanced. Official sources here confirmed Russia worked actively to convince China to drop its opposition to namechecking the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Muhammed (JeM).

The naming of these terror groups was seen by Indian officials as a major diplomatic breakthrough in Xiaman as Beijing had stalled all such attempts by both Russia and India during the BRICS Summit in 2016.

“We expect the declaration to lead to more concrete action against terrorist organisations,“ top Russian diplomat Sergey Karmalito told TOI.

The next logical step for India is to get Jaish chief Maulana Masood Azhar proscribed by the UN. China has continued to block all attempts to include Azhar in the UNSC sanctions list.

Indian officials are now hoping that Moscow will be of help to New Delhi in convincing Beijing to give up its opposition to the ban on Azhar too. According to diplomatic sources, Moscow is of the view that on the limited issue of Azhar, China may, in the near future, relent.

“Beijing knows it has limited bargaining power with Azhar. NSG (Nuclear Suppliers Group) and CPEC of course are different issues,“ said a source who did not wish to be named.

Foreign minister Sushma Swaraj had earlier this year publicly appealed to Russia to convince China to support India's NSG membership bid, but Moscow is not hopeful of a breakthrough any time soon. However, while there are concerns here about Moscow's attempts to engage Taliban in the Afghanistan peace process, Russia is also trying to involve India more in that process.

This is evident, as sources said, from a proposal by Moscow that President Vladimir Putin's special envoy for Afghanistan Zamir Kabu lov visit India soon. The visit could take place in October.

Kabulov is not the most popular Russian figure in India, with some of his comments on peace and stability in the region seen here as a sign of Russia's growing strategic embrace of Islamabad. After US President Trump attacked Pakistan while announcing his new Afghanistan policy , Kabulov said putting pressure on Pakistan would only further destabilise the region.

While Kabulov recently denied US allegations that Russia was giving military aid to the Taliban, he also said there was a stalemate in Kabul's conflict with Taliban, and that, in this situation, it was necessary “to make the most active efforts to search for ways to launch the intra-Afghan dialogue“. With the Taliban now controlling almost 45% of Afghan territory , Moscow believes it's impossible to keep them out of any dialogue for sustainable peace.

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