The 14th BRICS Summit: An Overview

BRICS, an acronym for the world’s largest and emerging market economies, Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, recently held its 14th summit. The summit, hosted by China, centred around various ideas, including a “new era” of global development, multilateralism, western “hegemony,” and Beijing’s foreign policy ambitions. China maintained that the purpose of BRICS was to promote equity and justice and help maintain global stability. While China posits that BRICS will work towards creating a viable alternative to the Western-led world order, many member states, particularly India, find themselves balancing between China, Russia, and the United States. As China continues its expansionist ambitions and Russia continues to wage war against Ukraine. Contention may grow among member states who do not fully support their policies, highlighting China’s desire to expand the coalition.

Key Judgement 1: It is highly likely that India will have to continue its balancing act between BRICS member states and the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (the Quad) over the next 12 months.

  • India is a member of both BRICS and the Quad, an alliance between Australia, Japan, and the United States. Due to its geographical position and its broad range of alliances, India sticks to a strict policy of non-alignment. (source)
  • At the BRICS summit, India is said to have pushed back against China’s efforts to promote an alternative to a US-led global order and other anti-US messaging. (source)
  • India abstained from voting on a UN resolution condemning the Russian invasion of Russia, likely out of fear that Russia will perceive it as siding with the West. As great power competition between both the US and China and the US and Russia increases, India will likely find it increasingly difficult to balance between larger powers. (source)

Key Judgement 2: It is likely that India’s blocking of Pakistan’s participation in a BRICS meeting will contribute to the countries’ already contentious relationship

  • Pakistan was invited to a high-level dialogue on development, an event of the BRICS Summit. However, Pakistan alleged that only “one member” of BRICS blocked its participation in the meeting, alluding to India. (source)
  • Pakistan claims India’s blocking of its participation was due to “narrow geopolitical considerations.” (source)
  • India’s decision to block Pakistan from the event was supported by both Russia and China. Both believe that Pakistan does not qualify as an emerging economy due to its recent economic crisis. China, in particular, has been frustrated with Pakistan’s economic progress related to several development projects related to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. (source)

Key Judgement 3: Despite the anti-Western sentiment across the BRICS summit, it is unlikely that the group will be able to produce any viable alternative to the existing US-led global system.  

  • Throughout the summit, China criticised the “abuse” of international sanctions by the West, and called for the need to “abandon Cold War mentality.” China repeatedly made comments opposing hegemony. (source)
  • Similarly, Russia made comments aiming at the “selfish actions of certain states” that have dismantled the global economy into crisis, alluding to the United States without mentioning it by name. (source)
  • Russia and China are keen to expand BRICS by adding more member states. However, while other member states, particularly India, may seek a reordering of the international system, many are growing disillusioned with China. Rather than seeing their membership in BRICS as a validation of China’s leadership, many main remain within the organization to keep checks on China and Russia’s ambitions. (source)

Intelligence Cut-Off Date: July 10, 2022

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