Daily Management Review

Leaders Of Brics Nations To Hold Summit To Create Global Clout Amid Ukraine’s Invasion By Russia


Leaders Of Brics Nations To Hold Summit To Create Global Clout Amid Ukraine’s Invasion By Russia
The leaders of the Brics group of countries are scheduled to get together for a summit this year and this move comes amid dramatic alterations in the global order. 
The group, whose name is derived from the initials of its five member countries - Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa - is hosting its annual summit on Thursday, but with little fanfare or high expectations.
For the third year in a row, talks will also be done virtually. The last two were held during the Covid epidemic, but it's unclear why the leaders decided to forego face-to-face discussions this year.
It stands in stark contrast to the Quad, which includes India, Australia, Japan, and the United States, and whose leaders met in person last month in Japan under the spotlight of the world media.
According to some observers, this is largely owing to the Brics' failure to live up to expectations over the years. When the group was created in 2009, it was intended to change the global economy and build a new financial order to aid the poor countries.
Its success might be defined as mediocre at best, yet its significance cannot be exaggerated. Brics countries have a combined population of 3.23 billion people and a combined GDP of more than $23 trillion.
"The Brics may seem irrelevant because it hasn't really moved the needle forward on its long-standing efforts to usher in viable global economic alternatives to the US-led existing system," says Michael Kugelman, deputy director at the Wilson Center think-tank in Washington.
However, he adds that dismissing the Brics will be a mistake because of their collective economic prowess, "even if it frequently tends to punch below its weight."
On November 13, 2019, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi shake hands on the margins of the 11th BRICS Summit in Brasilia, Brazil.
The economy has traditionally been at the core of the Brics, but the Ukraine conflict is expected to loom big over Thursday's conference.
The battle will undoubtedly be discussed when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro meet.
Ukraine, according to Pratyush Rao, director for South Asia at the consultancy Control Risks, will undoubtedly be the elephant in the room.
"A lot of people will be keeping an eye on the summit, especially on the dynamics between Russia and China over Ukraine," he says.
While China has been more explicit in its support for Russia, India, South Africa, and Brazil have attempted to walk a diplomatic tightrope over the conflict. They have not explicitly condemned Russia, but have urged for peace talks to end the war.
However, a lot has changed since the battle began. The economic impact of the conflict and Western-led sanctions is being felt around the world, with inflation rising in many nations, global supply networks disrupted, and food shortages looming.
Russian analysts have emphasised the relevance of the Brics countries in mitigating the impact of the sanctions.
Rao expects some pushback against Western sanctions at the conference, which will be encouraging for Russia.
"But it should not be interpreted as an endorsement of Russia's actions," he adds.
Brics members, on the other hand, would like to be viewed as taking the initiative to assist developing nations in overcoming the economic burden of the war.
"I expect the summit to underscore the group's global importance because of its collective demographic and economic clout. I also expect it to help poorer and middle-income countries build resilience to deal with the economic impacts of the Ukraine crisis," says Kugelman.
Brics members, on the other hand, would like to be viewed as taking the initiative to assist developing nations in overcoming the economic burden of the war. However, there will be difficulties within the group. Beijing and Moscow may agree to take harsher stances against the West, but Delhi does not want the summit to be used to publicly criticise the US and the West in general.
Delhi takes pride in its "strategic autonomy" and non-alignment policy, and has demonstrated that it can be an important member of even competing international forums.
"India has an independent strategic policy and an independent autonomous voice on the global stage and it wouldn't want to compromise on that," says Rao.
Both Russia and China have criticised the Quad as "Asia's Nato," but this hasn't stopped Delhi from offering assistance for the group's initiatives in the Indo-Pacific, which Beijing regards as its sphere of influence.
According to analysts, Russia and China will most likely overlook these irritants in order to achieve the greater goal of creating the Brics as a credible financial institution to assist the developing countries while also remaining relevant in the rapidly shifting geopolitical order.
Meanwhile, there have been reports of disagreements between Delhi and other Brics members on the Brics' expansion.
The Bloomberg news agency recently claimed that Delhi would oppose Beijing's plan to add additional members to the club.
"India wouldn't want to see more members in a group where China plays a dominant role. India will fear more Chinese influence," says Kugelman.
The summit's success will also be determined by how the two countries manage their disagreements on this and other matters, such as their ongoing border conflicts.
Both Kugelman and Rao believe that the two countries can put aside their differences when it is in their common interests.
They are members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, an eight-nation alliance, and worked together at the COP26 meeting to oppose approving stringent emission-cutting objectives.
Against this environment, Ukraine has the potential to be a Brics point of convergence. It may provide an opportunity for the group to persuade the world that it can compete financially with Western-led institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
As a result, concrete financial aid announcements and increased investment in the Brics-led New Development Bank should be expected.
Analysts believe that this would be a positive step toward the Brics gaining greater power as a serious global actor.