Importance for Exams

Mains : This year is special because India holds chair of the BRICS Summit from February to December. Though the exact outcome of all the Conferences, Meeting, MoUs, Declarations leading to the main Summit is not important, the themes being discussed are independently very important.

Prelims : All the declarations(Jaipur, Udaipur, etc), places(Khajuraho) where meetings were held and other keywords(like the BRICS Wellness Index) are important from a prelims perspective.

In News

The 2016 8th Annual BRICS Summit will be held in Panaji, Goa, from 15th to 16th October. The theme this year is Building Responsive, Inclusive and Collective Solutions. It will be attended by the heads of state/government of the five member states Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.


September – Events and Outcomes
1 -2 Sept – BRICS Convention on Tourism, Khajuraho
2-6 Sept – BRICS film festival
10-11 Sept – BRICS Wellness Workshop, Bangalore
The Ministry of AYUSH, in collaboration with Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS).
14 Sept – BRICS Joint Working Group on Counter Terrorism
16 Sept – BRICS Environment Ministers.
GOA MoU on setting up of JWG environment-related issues
14-16 Sept – 3rd BRICS Urbanisation Forum, Visakhapatnam
17 Sept – MOU on Climate co-operation


August – Events and Outcomes

1-2 Aug – BRICS Workshop on Strengthening Health Surveillance, Bengaluru
22 Aug – BRICS Women Parliamentarians’ Forum, Jaipur
Jaipur Declaration – Enablers for achieving SDG
22-23 Aug – 2nd meeting of the BRICS Ministers of Disaster Management, Udaipur
Udaipur Declaration – to enable Disaster Risk Management

Any doubts?

  1. Shivabodh Kalappagol

    cd can write the protocls and its implementations

  2. Sandeep Kumar

    What is Doha Development agenda of WTO? Can you please provide an explanation?


    What is Doha development agenda of WTO ?

    1. Rini Sen

      CD, can you write an explainer on the WTO meetings please? One compilation from 1992 till date…

[op-ed snap] Raja Mandala: Rearranging the BRICS

In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, BRICS leaders from left, Brazilian President Michel Temer, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping, South African President Jacob Zuma, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi pose for a group photo at the BRICS Summit in Xiamen in southeastern China’s Fujian Province, Monday, Sept. 4, 2017. (Zhang Duo/Xinhua via AP)


Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not Much

Mains level: The article effectively explains the issues related to the BRICS. Very important neewscard. After going through the newscard, one should also read the complete article.



  1. The article talks about the Sino-Indian relationship, BRICS Summit and its effects on the foreign policy of India

Main Focus of India’s Foreign policy from last 2 decades

  1. India’s central theme of foreign policy was to build a multipolar world
  2. For nearly a decade, the BRICS has been the main forum for the pursuit of that objective

Why has China’s influence made India to rethink about its policy of Multipolar World?

  1. Because China is squeezing India’s space in the Subcontinent and the Indian Ocean
  2. And it is becoming a lot more assertive in the bilateral disputes with India

Challenges infront of India in the BRICS

  1. The internal changes within the BRICS and external environment altered the dynamics of the BRICS
  2. And posed new challenges for India’s engagement with the forum

Some of the crucial challenges are:
(1) China’s massive economic weight in the forum

  1. Its GDP at nearly $12 trillion is now more than twice that of the other four members put together
  2. This has changed the internal balance in the BRICS in favour of Beijing

(2) Concern of China led Globalisation

  1. Apprehension about US-led globalization was one of the motivations behind India’s quest for a multipolar world in the past
  2. But India is now struggling with the issue ofChina-led globalisation
  3. Belt and Road initiative has added to India’s concerns about China’s rise

(3) Sensitive Relationship

  1. India’s contribution to the BRICS while deepening the strategic partnership with the USA and Japan looked quite impressive so long as there were no major tensions between the US, Russia, China and Japan

The way forward

  1.  India now faces relentless pressure on a range of issues
  2. The willingness of both Russia and China to cut deals with the US (on their own terms), makes the BRICS less about ideological posturing and more about repositioning India in changing great power equations
  3. That means India should cooperate China where it is necessary and possible
  4. And maintain the partnership with Russia and the USA

[op-ed snap] BRICS off the wall

Image Source


Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

Q.) “A crucial challenge for India is likely to arise from China’s plan for a “BRICS-Plus” or “Friends of BRICS” grouping, where it wants to include Pakistan.” How can India counter this issue?

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the BRICS

Mains level: BRICS 2017 Summit is going to be a crucial summit for both India and China, post-Doklam standoff.



  1. The articles talks about the future of Sino-Indian Standoff and the BRICS, amid Doklam Standoff

Some important outcomes of the BRICS

  1. BRICS countries has improved their positions in the World Bank and International Monetary Fund
  2. They also struck a small blow against Bretton Woods institutions
  3. And the BRICS New Development Bank set up in 2015 has already given out about $6 billion in loans for 23 projects across BRICS countries

Most Challenging BRICS Summit(2017)

  1. BRICS now faces its most challenging summit, not because of the West or the developed world
  2. But because of growing differences between its two biggest members, India and China
  3. It is now important to see how the bilateral relationship and several other changes in geopolitics are now going to change the course of the BRICS engagement as well
  4. The bilateral tensions will no doubt spill over(uncontrolled) to the multilateral negotiations at BRICS
  5. Especially given the negative atmosphere built up by state-run Chinese media these past few weeks

Other possible discussions(much debated) at the BRICS Summit

  1. (1) Nuclear Suppliers Group membership for India,
    (2) terrorism
    (3) the Dalai Lama and others
    (4) the rift over China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)
    is also likely to dominate discussions at BRICS
  2. India will have to use considerable leverage(advantage) with other members to ensure that its concerns prevail

Some concerns regarding the BRI and the other BRICS Members

  1. It must be remembered that Russia and South Africa are important parts of BRI
  2. And while Brazil is not, it is a recipient of Chinese investment, with a $20 billion Brazil-China infrastructure fund inaugurated this year

Another significant challenge for India

  1. It is likely to arise from China’s plan for a “BRICS-Plus” or “Friends of BRICS” grouping
  2. China is planning to include Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Mexico to an expanded version of BRICS
  3. The suggestion of including Pakistan is something India has opposed

Concerns related to Russia

  1.  Russia has moved closer to China and away from India
  2. This could affect the language of the joint statement, especially on issues like Afghanistan, on which BRICS members had previously been on the same page

The Way Forward

  1. It is an indicator of the importance of BRICS that both countries appeared to have exerted enough pressure on officials to bring about the disengagement in Doklam
  2. It remains to be seen how the two countries use next week’s bilateral encounter to chart a road map to repair ties
  3. This could provide a realistic understanding of where the road ahead leads for BRICS as well

[op-ed snap] BRICS falling apart. Why?

  1. Concern: Instead of using the Brics summit to push for greater economic growth and a greater global governance role, India sought to use it more for dealing with Pakistan
  2. India’s adopted I4C (Institution building, Implementation, Integrating, Innovation and Continuity) approach was overshadowed by one geopolitical agenda: how to isolate Pakistan!
  3. The summit declaration makes no mention of India’s singular contribution to the global economic recovery – India had registered highest growth among BRICS members
  4. Instead of using the Brics summit to push for greater global governance role – India invited BIMSTEC countries to push a SAARC – 1 agenda
  5. Concerns: This approach leaves India vulnerable to China’s veto and highlights China’s growing economic and geopolitical influence in India’s immediate neighbourhood
  6. India has opted out of groups like Saarc and the Non-Aligned Movement and looks like China is having an upper hand in BRICS

‘India used BRICS summit to outmanoeuvre Pakistan’

  1. Chinese govt-run ‘Global Times’ said that India successfully projected itself as the fastest growing economy compared to other members of the BRICS
  2. India has also “outmanoeuvred” Pakistan by effectively branding its neighbour as a “regional pariah” at the BRICS summit
  3. By bringing BIMSTEC and BRICS together India breathed legitimacy and substance into BIMSTEC
  4. The summit also helped India to push for its membership of the NSG as well as for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council (UNSC)

BRICS agrees to set up credit rating agency

  1. The five-nation group BRICS agreed to set up an independent rating agency
  2. It will be based on market-oriented principles
  3. The BRICS declaration stated that the BRICS Rating Agency was an important step towards transforming the global financial architecture

BRICS meet declaration pledges to fight terror

  1. The 8th BRICS summit ended here on Sunday with the adoption of the Goa Declaration which pledged opposition to terrorism, even as India failed to get a consensus on references to “cross-border terror” and Pakistan-based terror groups in the final statement.
  2. The Goa Declaration, pointed out the need for countering the Islamic State which has occupied territories in Iraq, Syria, and Libya. It also called for a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) in the U.N. General Assembly.
  3. The declaration called for resolution of the civil war in Syria.
  4. Other points: The final statement also called for all nations to counter radicalism, and block sources of financing international terrorism, “including through organised crime by means of money-laundering, drug trafficking, criminal activities, dismantling terrorist bases and countering misuse of the Internet including social media by terror entities through misuse of the latest Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs)”.

China moots BRICS free trade area ahead of Goa summit

  1. Ahead of the BRICS Summit in Goa, China mooted a free trade area for the five-member bloc of emerging countries
  2. It said that such a move would constitute significant form of cooperation
  3. By setting up a free trade area, BRICS countries would be able to remove tariff and non-tariff barriers, give play to their comparative advantages and advance trade and investment liberalisation between them
  4. It would help BRICS nations achieve mutual benefit and development and promote South—South cooperation on a global scale

Intra-BRICS trade stats

  1. Intra-BRICS trade in 2014 was just $297 billion
  2. It less than 5% of the $6.5 trillion worth trade that the five countries had with the world that year
  3. Goods imports from the world into the BRICS countries were $3.03 trillion in 2014
  4. While global goods exports of BRICS countries were $3.47 trillion that year

India fair to boost intra-BRICS trade

  1. What? India, for the first time, will organise BRICS Trade Fair & Exhibition
  2. Why? To boost trade among the BRICS nations
  3. Origin: This initiative was proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year
  4. Focus: Building BRICS – Innovation for Collaboration
  5. Will showcase about 20 key sectors- aerospace, agro-processing, auto, chemicals, green energy, healthcare, railways, textiles, infrastructure, IT, engineering goods, tourism, gems & jewellery and skill development
  6. Besides established companies, start-ups and innovators from BRICS will showcase their offerings to help technology solution providers share knowledge in dealing with challenges in healthcare, education, energy efficiency, waste management and urbanisation management

BRICS MoU on climate cooperation signed

  1. What? India signed an agreement with fellow BRICS countries
  2. Why? To deepen cooperation in abatement and control of air and water pollution, efficient management of liquid and solid waste, climate change and conservation of biodiversity
  3. Key issues: Technology transfer and finance need to be addressed to limit global warming
  4. Background: Recently, the Environment Ministry announced a collaborative R&D programme to develop next generation, sustainable refrigerant technologies as alternatives to hydrofluorocarbons
  5. Key players: The Council of Scientific & Industrial Research and its allied institutions; Department of Science and Technology; Centre for Atmospheric & Oceanic Sciences and key industry players

Recent BRICS countries’ efforts for countering terrorism

  1. Russia, China and India are trying to create an alternative channel of resolution of some of the enduring civil wars in WANA region
  2. Following Russian and Chinese roles to control violence in Syria, India too mobilised its diplomatic team
  3. It also sent Minister of State for External Affairs, M.J. Akbar, to Syria and Iraq in August

BRICS security forum meet- a background

  1. The discussion on terrorism at the BRICS security forum comes in the series of security-related discussions that took place at G20 in Hangzhou
  2. These discussion are also likely to be taken up at the NAM summit in Venezuela and at the United Nations General Assembly session
  3. Counter Terror Convention: The discussion is also significant as it gave one more opportunity to all sides to raise the issue of a counter terror convention before it is taken up at the coming session of UNGA

BRICS members to unite against terror groups- II

  1. The High Representatives encouraged cooperation and exchanging of best practices, expertise, information and knowledge on counter terrorism issues
  2. Agreed to expand BRICS counter-terrorism cooperation further to include measures for denying terrorists access to finance and terror hardware such as equipment, arms and ammunition
  3. The High Representatives also discussed non-traditional threats like cyber hacking
  4. Agreed to join hands for capacity building and research and development

BRICS members to unite against terror groups- I

  1. Context: The meeting of the High Representatives on security issues of BRICS countries, in New Delhi, led by NSA Ajit Doval
  2. Underscored the demand for an international legal order to deal with the threat of terrorism
  3. Agreed to intensify cooperation against terror groups like the IS in West Asia and North Africa region (WANA)
  4. Highlighted the growing convergence of BRICS members on the threats from West Asian region

China’s BRICS trade pact idea finds no takers

  1. What? The countries in the BRICS bloc have cold-shouldered China’s attempt to bring to the negotiating table a proposal for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the five major emerging economies
  2. Why? Apprehensions that it could lead to a surge in imports of Chinese goods into their territory — in turn, hurting local manufacturing
  3. BRICS FTA: It is aimed at boosting trade ties in the grouping through binding commitments on eliminating tariffs
  4. Background: The development comes amid hectic preparations for the BRICS Trade Ministers Meeting on October 13 and the first BRICS Trade Fair from October 12 to 14 (both in Delhi)
  5. Also, Eighth BRICS Summit to be held in Goa on October 15-16
  6. India is hosting these events as it currently holds the BRICS Chairmanship

BRICS will discuss sustainable and inclusive solutions

  1. News: The 8th BRICS summit to be held in Goa in October will be discussing ‘sustainable and inclusive solutions to the global problems’
  2. Significance: A stronger BRICS equals a more equitable world order as no country can by itself respond to today’s challenges
  3. By pooling capabilities, resources and ideas over shared concerns, BRICS is giving the world its contribution, at the same time ensuring its members a fair stake in the decision making process

Let’s know more about BRICS Network University

  1. The network university is devoted to the creation of masters and PhD programmes
  2. Six thematic groups: Are being set up in the network, matching six agreed priority areas
  3. Functions: The thematic groups will gather and decide on the content of the masters and PhD programmes and they are supposed to start academic and student exchanges in 2017
  4. 6 areas: Computer science and information science, energy, BRICS studies, economics, ecology and climate change and water resources and pollution treatment
  5. BRICS studies: Covers areas such as politics, international relations, cultures and languages

Technical issues delay launch of BRICS university

  1. News: BRICS will be unable to launch its showpiece university in 2016 as foundational issues are yet to be resolved
  2. Background: BRICS Network University (BRICS-NU) was first mooted in March 2015 and was scheduled to be launched in 2016 but the member countries are yet to find common modalities for the unique venture
  3. Technical issues: Curriculum, language differences among the students of member countries and nature of infrastructure
  4. Nature of university: This is a major issue, with some sections insisting that it should be a virtual facility providing distance education and training
  5. Way ahead: These issues are likely to be taken up by the education ministers of the member-countries of BRICS during the upcoming summit in Goa

New Development Bank defines its brand identity as an eco-friendly lender

  1. News: The New Development Bank (NDB) of BRICS has developed a defining brand identity- of a pronounced eco-friendly lender of the emerging countries
  2. Green Bonds: NDB reinforced its eco-centric credentials by issuing its first Green Financial Bond worth 3 billion Yuan, in the Chinese Interbank Bond Market
  3. The response to the bond issue shows that that in addition to accessing global capital markets, considerable scope exists for the NDB to raise funding from local capital markets of the BRICS member countries
  4. Funding: The bank has so far funded five projects for each of its members, all related to renewable energy
  5. Examples: India’s Canara Bank has received $250 million that would be channeled to develop 500 MW of renewable energy
  6. Brazil will develop 600 MW of renewable energy from a funding of $300 million
  7. NDB: It is inclined to fund projects which conform to high environmental standards, including those in the field of infrastructure, such as energy, railways and highways in the future
  8. Sustainable development, which means a heavy focus on environmental protection is part of its mandate

India to discuss trade curbs, projects at BRICS meeting

  1. Context: Govt is preparing a list of priority projects for which investments could be sought from other BRICS nations
  2. Investments would be sought for projects, mostly in infra sector, from other member nations
  3. Proposal: To set up a mechanism to expeditiously resolve non-tariff barriers (NTBs) that are hurting goods trade between BRICS member countries
  4. This will be taken up for discussion during the next month’s meeting of the grouping’s Contact Group on Economic and Trade Issues (CGETI)
  5. CGETI meeting: Sets agenda for BRICS trade and economy ministers’ meeting
  6. BRICS Chair: India is chairing the influential bloc BRICS for an 11-month term till Dec 2016
  7. India will seek cooperation between BRICS countries on standards and technical regulations in goods and services trade

Learn about New Development Bank(NDB)

  1. What? This is a multilateral development bank operated by the BRICS states (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa)
  2. Why? An alternative to the existing American and European-dominated World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
  3. Goal: To mobilize resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other emerging economies and developing countries.
  4. Headquarter: Shanghai, China
  5. Shares and Voting Rights: Each participant country holds an equal number of shares and equal voting rights, and none of the countries will have veto power

New BRICS bank set to fund green energy projects

  1. News: New Development Bank(NDB) multilateral lender is all set to fund more than a dozen projects this year, which will focus on renewable energy.
  2. Focus of NDB: on green energy projects
  3. For Capital: NDB would include market borrowing to raise capital, but bonds in local currency, rather than hard currency, would be favoured
  4. NDB clarification : It will not geared to issue soft loans
  5. NDB’s initial capital: Fixed at $50 billion, and the total paid in capital would be $ 10 billion

BRICS MoU on cooperation in Science, Technology and Innovation(STI)

  1. Context: India signed BRICS MoU at Brasilia, Brazil on the sidelines of 3rd BRICS STI Ministerial meeting
  2. The News: envisages promotion of cooperation in the field of science, technology and innovation by means of mutually agreed S&T events and activities
  3. Objectives: To establish a strategic framework of cooperation in STI
  4. To address the common global, and regional socio-economic challenges utilizing shared experiences
  5. Co-generate new knowledge and innovative products, services and processes etc.

Visa pact likely in 8th BRICS summit

  1. What? India is planning to push for business visa liberalization and issuing business travel cards among the BRICS
  2. Occasion: During 8th annual BRICS summit whose chairmanship is with India this year
  3. Benefits: Allow businessmen multiple-entry business visas for a longer period of time
  4. Theme: “Building Responsive, Inclusive and Collective Solutions”
  5. India leaving BRICS? The meeting will be held amid calls that India should dissociate itself from BRICS as it is an outlier among the 5
  6. Why? Brazil and Russia are in deep economic trouble because of the crash in oil and commodity prices
  7. Both China and South Africa have slowed sharply because of domestic economic difficulties

China hosts 1st BRICS media summit

China’s Xinhua news agency is the initiator of the project which adds one more dimension to the BRICS format.

  1. China has taken the initiative for creating an alternative media platform for the 5 emerging economies.
  2. It aimed to create a new institutional framework to benefit the media of five emerging economies of BRICS grouping.
  3. The summit proposed the formation of a BRICS Media Foundation for supporting and protecting journalists belonging to the grouping.
  4. In the first summit, leaders of 25 Media organisations from the BRICS, pitched for building consensus to deal with climate change, terrorism,and other key global issues.

What is G20?

  1. The G-20 was formed in 1999, with world’s 19 largest economies, and the European Union.
  2. It is an international forum for governments to discuss key issues related to the global economy.
  3. As G20 is not an organisation, therefore, it does not have any permanent secretariat or management and administrative structure.
  4. There are no formal votes or resolutions on the basis of fixed voting shares or economic criteria.

BRICS can give shape to G20, says Modi

  1. The BRICS could give shape to G20, a signal from the BRICS nations to the developed countries of their rising significance in global matters.
  2. He also made a case for close coordination to prevent corruption and for cooperation to freeze unaccounted money hoarded abroad.
  3. He cautioned against new trading blocs leading to division of the global trade regime.
  4. He called for strengthening the rule-based global trading system and speeding up the completion of the Doha Development Agenda of the WTO.

India Calls for Multilateral Funding in Science-Tech among BRICS Countries

The 3rd Ministerial Meeting of BRICS held on Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) at Moscow on 28th Oct.

  1. India supports Multilateral Funding System, provides basis for announcing BRICS Call for Proposal to support multi-country research projects.
  2. India has supported creation of BRICS Research and Innovation Networking Platform (RINP).
  3. Under which, BRICS Innovation Corps to be created and that an inventory of innovative products, services and solutions maintained.
  4. India also welcomed the proposed BRICS initiative on ‘Global Research Advanced Infrastructure Network’ (GRAIN).

New Development Bank opens in Shanghai

  1. Main reason for the birth of NDB has been the reluctance of US and Europe on giving more say to developing countries in the Bretton Woods institutions.
  2. A ‘hotline’ was established between AIIB and NDB for closer cooperation.
  3. NDB will have initial capital of $50 Billion and will be further raised to $100 Billion by next two years.

:( We are working on most probable questions. Do check back this section.

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