By: Dipak Kurmi
With the impending BRICS summit in South Africa, the world’s gaze turns toward the convergence of leaders from Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. This annual gathering, set to unfold from August 22 to 24, holds momentous significance, seeking to evolve the alliance of nations, collectively accounting for a substantial quarter of the global economy, into a potent geopolitical force capable of challenging the hegemony of Western powers in international affairs. Amidst discussions spanning economic cooperation and multilateral influence, India’s central role within BRICS stands as a lighthouse of significance. Though the absence of Russian President Vladimir Putin due to the ongoing Ukraine conflict will be noted, the attendance of leaders like China’s Xi Jinping, Brazil’s Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected.
As the host nation, South Africa has set a stage adorned with a theme that resonates profoundly: “BRICS and Africa.” This thematic selection underscores the alliance’s aspiration to expand its influence, forge connections, and engage in cooperative endeavors with an African continent gradually emerging as a theater for global power competition.
Among the BRICS nations, India’s role gleams luminously in this pursuit. Its economic might, strategic positioning, and adept diplomacy cast it as a keystone in the alliance’s journey toward a more multipolar global order. The cohesiveness within BRICS often emanates from shared skepticism toward a world order that sometimes appears skewed in favor of Western powers. The clarion call for enlargement is poised to dominate discussions. Around 40 nations have expressed their eagerness to join BRICS, a fact spotlighted by South Africa. China, ardently seeking enhanced global influence, advocates for swift expansion, while Brazil harbours reservations fearing dilution of the group’s efficacy. In this debate, India’s stance might wield a pivotal role. As a staunch proponent of multipolarity and inclusive international systems, India’s voice can contribute to finding a balanced approach to enlargement – one that maintains the alliance’s unity while embracing like-minded partners.
The central challenge that confronts BRICS revolves around the transition from aspirational ideals to tangible actions. The consortium’s New Development Bank (NDB) seeks to reshape the global financial landscape, offering an alternative to traditional institutions. However, its progress has been gradual, with sanctions on Russia impeding its operations. India, with its extensive financial acumen and developmental experience, possesses the potential to propel the NDB’s aspirations forward.
The imperative of addressing climate change also commands the alliance’s attention. Here, India’s involvement assumes paramount importance given its substantial population and expanding carbon footprint. Collectively, the BRICS nations contribute significantly to greenhouse gas emissions, and India’s proactive engagement in seeking sustainable solutions could galvanize substantial progress.
The upcoming summit serves as a platform for India to showcase its global vision, collaborative spirit, and steadfast commitment to forging a more equitable global order. As the BRICS alliance collectively seeks to reconfigure the contours of international influence, India’s role as a guiding light and constructive contributor can pave the way toward a future defined by cooperation, balance, and shared prosperity. (The writer can be reached at email@example.com)