Spotlight Sep 7: Discussion on BRICS Summit 2021: Expectations and Challenges.
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BRICS Summit 2021
Context: As part of India’s ongoing Chairship of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) in 2021, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi (2nd time) will chair the 13th BRICS Summit on 9 September 2021 in virtual format.
The theme for the Summit is ‘BRICS@15: Intra-BRICS cooperation for continuity, consolidation and consensus’. India had outlined four priority areas for its Chairship. These are –
- Reform of the Multilateral System
- Counter Terrorism: Cooperation for continuity, consolidation and consensus
- Using Digital and Technological Tools for achieving SDGs
- Enhancing People to People exchanges
In addition to these areas, the leaders will also exchange views on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and other current global and regional issues.
India will be hosting the BRICS Summit for the 3rd time.
Expectations from the Summit
- Afghanistan Issue: Apart from business and economic issues, the summit is expected to see extensive discussions on the Afghanistan crisis and BRICS leaders may also issue a joint statement on the latest situation in the country.
- Framework for greater cooperation in services trade: May promise easier movement of professionals across BRICS nations. This is expected to eventually lead to discussions on movement of natural persons, such as independent professionals (called Mode 4 services trade) and Mode 1, the cross- border supply of services, sources said. While broad level consensus has been achieved so far, it is expected to slowly open doors to Indian professionals moving freely within BRICS economies as well as expand on services trade in the region.
- Pledge to establish a common approach towards the multilateral trading system, keeping in mind the upcoming 12th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation to be held in Geneva in December 2021. This is expected to bring the BRICS countries on an unprecedented common platform on matters of global trade policy. While India and China have often advocated for developmental goals and policies, leading poor and developing nations at the global fora, significant differences exist among BRICS nations with regards to trade policy. A new move towards papering over these differences will prove to be the biggest achievement in India’s trade diplomacy.
- The government has said that despite numerous challenges and constraints, India was successful in building consensus for new areas of work and cooperation among BRICS countries. As a result, for the first time, a common understanding has arisen amongst BRICS countries on a wide range of areas. These include new declarations related to consumer protection, e-commerce, genetic resources and traditional knowledge.
- Trade push: The Commerce Department is currently giving the final touches to its internal reports that pinpoint the areas where trade can be quickly ramped up. This comes after a push by the Prime Minister’s Office on the issue. Barring trade with China, India’s trade with the 15-year-old grouping has not expanded nearly as much as New Delhi had earlier hoped for. India hopes to fix this through a combination of targeted exports, based on demand in these markets, easing of rules of customs, trade and standards and a greater political will.
India’s total trade with the BRICS countries in 2020-21 stood at $110 billion in 2019-20, which rose to $113.3 billion in 2020-21, despite COVID-19. India’s trade figures for the grouping is heavily dictated by its trade with China ($86.4 billion in FY21). The latest rise was also majorly due to a rise in trade with China.
- The idea of BRICS – a common pursuit of shared interests by the five emerging economies from four continents – is fundamentally sound and relevant.
- It is still possible that the BRIC grouping could become as large as the G7 within the next generation. The governments have invested huge political capital in pushing the BRICS experiment forward. Therefore, the strains in the grouping needs to be addressed to keep alive the relevance of it.
Can you answer this question now?
The grouping succeeded up to a point but it now confronts multiple challenges. Do you agree? Discuss.