Nation-state is the basic unit of International Relations. Another important element rather is the International Organisations like UNO, WB, IMF, WTO, SAARC, ASEAN, etc. These organisations are responsible for regulating the relations among the countries. Some of these organisations are meant for all nation-states of the world e.g. Bretton Woods sisters, UNO, etc for common cause. Others are formed for the regional co-operation among some countries for their own development e.g. EU, BIMSTEC, etc. BRICS is one among the organisation formed for regional co-operation.
BRICS is the acronym of the nation-states included in it Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa which joined it later after its formation in 2010. These were all such nations that were developing and newly industrialized forming a group in order to have association for economic co-operation. Let's see the reasons of its formation, its members briefly, its relevance, its problems and the challenges that it has to face in future.
The five countries if we take into consideration together makes half of world's population; quarter of world's landmass and 1/5th of world's GDP. Looking in the past just near the end of Second World War we saw the origin of 'Bretton Woods's twins' those are IMF and WB but they had and have influence of the western world over them. So in order to compete with them and achieve out the financial self-sufficiency the 5 biggest and fastest growing economies tried to adopt a new institution with the 2 main pillars of practical co-operation and consultation on issues of mutual interest.
To take a review of BRICS members let's consider each one by one. First one is Brazil. It is rich in its oil resources and iron ore. It is the 6th largest in the world. Next we have Russia which had already been a super power just after the 2nd World War. However it is going through some economic hardships now. Also we have India that has the biggest demographic dividend and also has 10 fastest growing urban areas out of 30 in the world. Then we see China, the 1st in world population and 2nd greatest economy of the world aspiring to overtake USA which is on first position. Lastly we have South Africa which is the richest source of natural resources and also is the strongest economy of the African continent.
BRICS as an organisation is working at its best to cope up with the difficulties of its member nations and emerge as Global economic giant trying to overtake the G7 countries. It has been trying to develop NDB (New Development Bank) as an alternative option to World Bank or IMF for the developing nations, helping them by providing developmental loans and credits and grant aids when necessary or in emergency. Another such effort of BRICS is CRA (Contingency Reserve Arrangement). By all such efforts we understand that BRICS is trying to create a new Global Architecture.
But BRICS is also on with some shortcomings as well. One of them is that they have unsustainable fewer resources as compared to the other developed nations as all these are the countries belonging to Global South and are under industrialization process. Another problem is the growing population. The rank 1 and 2 countries are the members of BRICS which makes it further less efficient and the most important point is China has its dominance over the institution as the contribution of its GDP is largest among all the nations, its almost 50%. Due to this China enjoys the veto power over the decisions of issues in BRICS.
To talk about its future let's take into consideration its 8th summit that took place recently (October, 2016) at Goa. A new acronym for BRICS i.e. Building Responsive Inclusive and Collective Solutions was given to face the challenges of coming years. The achievements for India were it could bring BIMSTEC to global stage, solidified its partnership with Brazil, etc. Also it could bring up new goals of I4C i.e. Innovation, Integration, Implementation, Institution Building and Continuity to strengthen the ties among themselves.
Looking towards the shortcomings of BRICS and India's growing rivalry with China (South China Sea issue, String of Pearls Theory) it feels as if other international organisations that do not have China as its member may gain importance in Indian context. But to counter Global Giants of western influence geopolitical hold of BRICS will grow wider in International arena.
- Aditi Subhash Dhale