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List BRICKS achievements and failures and India's role in BRICS


BRICS is an acronym for an association of five major emerging economies; Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa and the term was first coined by O'Neill, the former chief economist for Goldman Sachs. Earlier it was known as BRIC before the inclusion of South Africa in 2010 at BRIC Foreign Ministers' meeting in New York. It was started essentially with economic issues of mutual interest, however, its agenda of BRICS meetings has considerably widened over the years to encompass topical global issues. The main areas of dialogue between the member countries include - Finance & Central Bank, Trade, Business Forum & Council, Financial Forum, Academic & Think Tanks Council, Health, Science & Technology, Security, Agriculture and Statistics. BRICS member together represent a significant share of the world's production and population and its share of the global Economy in terms of GDP grew from 11% in 1990 to 25% in 2011 and it is predicted that the BRICS will overtake US in terms of GDP this year and the G7 by 2030. Since its first summit, BRICS countries have registered growth in terms of GDP in recent years and today they have 40 per cent of the world's population and 20 per cent of its GDP and their combined GDP grew more than 300 percent.

Following are some of the major achievements of BRICS.

  • Expanding trade: BRICs share of the world exports rose significantly from the years of 1996 to 2008, from 9% to 17%.
  • Setting up the Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA): to provide mutual financial support, and as a contribution to the global financial safety net. The establishment of the CRA has further deepened and consolidated the partnership of its members in the economic-financial area.
  • Establishment of New Development Bank: In the sixth BRICS summit in Brazil, the member countries, signed an agreement to create a development bank on the lines of Asian Development Bank and the World Bank. It marks a departure from the practices and procedures of the west-dominated IMF and World Bank.
  • BRICS as new stakeholder in 21st century Global Agenda: The economic potential and demographic development are putting the BRICS countries, increasingly in a leading position in setting the global agenda and having a greater say in the global governance.

Failures of BRICS: However, in recent times BRICS are facing problems in terms of slowing economic growth and recession in some of its member countries. Following are the major cause:

  • Slowing down of Chinese economy: it has caused turmoil in not just in BRICS bloc but across the world.
  • Failure of BRICS to sign any agreement with US: None of the BRICS countries has signed trade or investment agreements with the United States and some of the negotiations have been failed due to opposition to US approach. This has hindered economic expansion of BRICS countries.
  • Recession in Russia and Brazil: The political and economic isolation of Russia, orchestrated by the US after the Ukraine crisis, has had a tremendous negative impact on the once surging economy. Even Brazilian economy is slipping into recession.
  • Failure to sustain economic growth: the emerging member countries have failed to gain any momentum for sustained growth.
  • Structural disparity between China and other BRICS members: Chinese economy has the largest share among the member countries and it accounts for 38 percent share in the total export of BRICS. This has resulted in dominance of China in the BRICS bloc and in turn has stoked the economic nationalism in other member countries.
  • Tension within the BRICS bloc: There is lack of policy coordination within the member countries owing to troubled political relations between some members. For example, India- China ties have witnessed a steady deterioration over the last few years.

India's Role in BRICS:

India since the inception of BRICS has played an important and active role. It attaches high importance to the BRICS forum for promoting global economic growth, peace and stability. Co-operation on the economic front is one of the focus areas of India's policy towards BRIC. India sees BRICS as a platform to build multilateral relations with Latin American, African and Asian countries. India has over the years, developed closed strategic relationship with the other member countries. India has also tried to use BRIC as a forum to resolve the age-old mistrust and complicated relationship with China. India has also played an important role in the setting up of New Development Bank. Also for India, co-operation with the BRICs is very important in terms of addressing its food and energy security issues, and combating terrorism.

Since the Federal Reserve signaled the recovery of American economy from the financial crisis and recession and raised its interest rates, the BRICS have been on a steady decline. Investors pulled out from BRICS countries as US securities are more lucrative to them, which threatened the BRICS' economic growth. With most of its member countries registering slowing of their economies, India has emerged as the only bright light in the BRICS thanks to its recent policy reforms. Despite global economic slowdown, Indian rupee has become the best performing currency among BRICS countries.

It is no doubt that BRICS plays an important forum for all the member countries in promoting South-South cooperation and North-South dialogue. It will also help its member countries in fulfilling UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).In recent years, BRICs have come together in a political grouping in a way that has far exceeded most expectations.

- SHREYA ANURAKTI