BRICS as we all know is the group of five countries consisting Brazil, Russia, China, India and South Africa. Though the term was first coined in 2001 by then-chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management Jim O'Neill, the process of formation of the group started in 2006 when the leaders of founding members of group from Brazil, Russia, China and India first met in New York in September 2006 at the margins of general debate of UN General Assembly and finally a group of 4 members consisting Brazil, Russia, China and India was formed in 2009 when first formal summit of the leaders of these countries was held in Yekateriburg, Russia. South Africa was later added in the group in December2010 the country participated in 3rd summit in April 2011 as a full member.
As far as its relevance is concerned, the BRICS is group of countries having total population of approximately 3.6 billion which makes 40% of world population. Also, the cumulative economy of the group members aggregate to around 17 trillion in nominal term which is 22% of world economy in current context. The relevance of the group increases when it is considered as rival of western dominated institutions of World Bank and IMF. India and China are today the fastest growing economies and they are considered as future super power of world. The group also has Russia the former USSR as a member which was one of the two super power until 1991 when it was disintegrated for various political and economic reason but still retain the hegemony of western, US led military dominance.
In subsequent summits since its inception the group has taken various initiatives which have changed the world economic order. The group pledged a corpus of $75 billion to IMF on precondition of voting rights reform in June, 2012 which is not only the end of US hegemony in institution but also a start of more democratic world order. During its fifth summit at Durban, South Africa in 2013, the member countries agreed to create a new global financial institution which finally came into existence as New Development Bank in 2015 having head quarter at Shanghai with initial capital of $50 billion and subsequently increased to $100 billion. The bank is today considered as rival of World Bank and the bank's primary focus is to lend for various development projects in member and other developing countries. To save members from immediate economic shocks the group has also agreed to Contingent Reserve Agreement. The agreement provide protection to member countries against global liquidity pressure as all the members are developing economies and prone to increased economical volatility in current globalized scenario and is considered as rival of International Monetary Fund.
However, the future of the group seems little gloomy as the two biggest economy India and China of the group are having various contentious issues between them. The two countries are often seen as rival on various global forum which degenerate the confidence between each other. China is opposed to the entry of India to group like NSG and also a staunch supporter of Pakistan which has a demeaning record fuelling terrorism in India and has also opposed to UN resolution of declaring Masood Azhar a global terrorist who is a mastermind of various terrorist attack in India and globally. At the same time India is also opposed to the China's aggressive policy in South China Sea where various countries like Vietnam, China, Philippines and others in the reason have territorial disputes. In recent times the global slowdown, Sanction on Russia since it annexed Crimea and political instability in Brazil has also added burden on BRICS economy.
Today when world is divided in multi groups like G-7, G-20, BRICS, etc. and signatory of various trade agreements like TPP, TTIP, SAFTA, etc. the relevance of any group can't be questioned but future depends upon understanding of member countries.
- Mani Kant Jha