BRICS Summits

BRICS Summits

BRICS and its future roadmap

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : BRICS

Mains level : Future agenda of BRICS

As India is gearing up to host this year’s BRICS summit, the grouping is facing fresh challenges, from disputes among member countries to tackling COVID-triggered crises and opportunities.

What is BRICS?

  • To be clear, BRICS was not invented by any of its members.
  • In 2001, Goldman Sachs’ Jim O’Neill authored a paper called “Building Better Global Economic BRICs”, pointing out that future GDP growth in the world would come from China, India, Russia and Brazil.
  • Significantly, the paper didn’t recommend a separate grouping for them, but made the case that the G-7 grouping, made up of the world’s most industrialized, and essentially Western countries, should include them.
  • O’Neill also suggested that the G-7 group needed revamping after the introduction of a common currency for Europe, the euro, in 1999.
  • In 2003, Goldman Sachs wrote another paper, “Dreaming with BRICs: Path to 2050”, predicting that the global map would significantly change due to these four emerging economies.
  • In 2006, leaders of the BRIC countries met on the margins of a G-8 (now called G-7) summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, and BRIC was formalized that year.

Issues in its consolidation

  • Common ground for the members was built by ensuring that no bilateral issues were brought up, but the contradictions remained.
  • Many economists soon grew tired of “emerging” economies that didn’t reach the goals they had predicted.
  • Others saw India’s closer ties with the US after the civil nuclear deal as a sign its bonds with BRICS would weaken.
  • Meanwhile, Russia, which had hoped to bolster its own global influence through the group, had been cast out of the G-7 order altogether after its actions in Crimea in 2014.
  • China, under Xi Jinping, grew increasingly aggressive, and impatient about the other underperforming economies in the group, as it became the U.S.’s main challenger on the global stage.

Long-term prospects

  • China’s decision to launch the trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative in 2017 was opposed by India, and even Russia did not join the BRI plan, although it has considerable infrastructure projects with China.
  • South Africa’s debt-laden economy and the negative current account have led some to predict an economic collapse in the next decade.
  • Brazil’s poor handling during the Covid-19 crisis has ranked it amongst the world’s worst-affected countries, and its recovery is expected to be delayed.
  • India’s economic slowdown was a concern even before Covid-19 hit, and government policies like “Aatmanirbhar” were seen as a plan to turn inward.

Issues with BRICS nations

  • Concerns about aggressions from Russia in Ukraine and Eastern Europe and China in the South China Sea, the border with India and internally in Hongkong and Xinjiang are clear visible.
  • There is creeping authoritarianism in democracies like Brazil and India have made investors question long-term prospects of the group.
  • In the market, BRICS has been mocked for being “broken”, while others have suggested it should be expanded to include more emerging economies like Indonesia, Mexico and Turkey, called the “Next-11”.

A roadmap to progress

  • BRICS is an idea that has endured two decades, an idea its members remain committed to, and not one has skipped the annual summits held since 2009.
  • Along the way, BRICS has created the New Development Bank (NDB) set up with an initial capital of $100 billion.
  • There is a BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement fund to deal with global liquidity crunches, and a BRICS payment system proposing to be an alternative to the SWIFT payment system.

Reforming the multilaterals

  • The BRICS ministerial meeting held this week sent several important signals to that end, issuing two outcome documents.
  • It included the first “standalone” joint statement on reforming multilateral institutions, including the UN and the UNSC, IMF and World Bank and the WTO.
  • It remains to be seen how far countries like China and Russia, which are already “inside the tent” at the UNSC, will go in advocating for the other BRICS members.
  • Another important agreement was the BRICS ministerial decision to support negotiations at the WTO for the waiver of trade-related intellectual property rights (TRIPs) for vaccines and medicines to tackle the Coronavirus.

Way forward

  • What appears clear is in the post-Covid world, priorities for all economies will change, and offer up a churning in the world of the kind seen two decades ago, when the idea of a grouping of emerging economies was first floated.
  • For BRICS, the next few months could crystallize that idea, or sink it further, leaving others to wonder whether the “Rise of the Rest” as it was once called, is an idea whose time will ever come at all.

BRICS Summits

BRICS Innovation Base for 5G and AI Technology

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : BRICS, AI

Mains level : 5G Technology and the Huawei issue

China has made a proposal to create what it has termed a BRICS innovation base to take forward 5G and Artificial Intelligence (AI) cooperation.

Try this question from CSP 2019:

Q.With reference to communication technologies, what is/are the difference/differences between LTE (Long-Term Evolution) and VoLTE (Voice over Long-Term Evolution)?

  1. LTE ‘is commonly marketed as 3G and VoLTE is commonly marketed as advanced 3G.
  2. LTE is data-only technology and VoLTE is voice-only technology.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

BRICS Innovation Base

  • China is considering the establishment of a BRICS innovation base in China, in order to strengthen practical cooperation with the BRICS.
  • It has urged fellow nations, including India, to boost cooperation in areas including 5G and AI in partnership with Huawei.
  • The move could pose an awkward question for India, which is the only country in the grouping that is leaning towards excluding Chinese participation in the roll-out of India’s 5G networks.

Huawei in BRICS

  • In South Africa, Huawei is providing services to three of its telecom operators in the roll-out of their 5G networks.
  • Brazil has allowed participation in trials but yet to take a final call.
  • India is unlikely to allow Chinese participation in 5G, particularly in the wake of recent moves to tighten investment from China and national security concerns.

Back2Basics: BRICS

  • BRICS is an acronym for the grouping of the world’s leading emerging economies, namely Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
  • The BRICS Leaders Summit is convened annually. It does not exist in form of organization, but it is an annual summit between the supreme leaders of five nations.
  • On November 30, 2001, Jim O’Neill, a British economist who was then chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, coined the term ‘BRIC’ to describe the four emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, and China.
  • The grouping was formalized during the first meeting of BRIC Foreign Ministers on the margins of the UNGA in New York in September 2006.
  • The first BRIC Summit took place in 2009 in the Russian Federation and focused on issues such as reform of the global financial architecture.
  • South Africa was invited to join BRIC in December 2010, after which the group adopted the acronym BRICS.

BRICS Summits

BRICS’ fight against COVID

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : BRICS, NDB.

Mains level : Paper 2- BRICS's potential for coordination on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief .

“BRICS” is an acronym coined by Jim O’Neill in 2001. In the start of the 21st century, BRICS seemed like the future economic powerhouse. Somehow this picture faded a little with time. This article shows the resilience and potential demonstrated by BRICS in times of Covid-19. It throws light on the latest initiatives of BRICS like New Development Bank. Finally what lies in the future for BRICS?

The “I” in BRICS

  • India has reinforced its reputation as a rapidly emerging pharmacy of the world.

  • As the world’s largest producer of hydroxychloroquine, India has exported the drug to many countries like Russia, Brazil, Israel, U.S,  SAARC and Gulf nations.

  • Pharma-alliance: The above developments have set the stage for India to forge an inclusive BRICS-driven pharma alliance, which could also actively explore the production of vaccines.

The “C” in BRICS

  • Despite allegations, China has responded strongly in containing the pandemic, leveraging its position as the workshop of the world.

  • China, using it’s manufacturing capabilities, responded to the disease by providing the “hardware” — masks, gloves, coveralls, shoe covers and testing kits — to hotspots across the globe.

  • Under its Health Silk Road doctrine, the Chinese are reaching out to two of the worst global hotspots, Italy and Iran.

  • China has also rolled out a medical air bridge for Europe.

The “R” in BRICS

  • Despite fighting the virus at home, Russia too has sent its doctors and virologists overseas including an air mission to Italy.

  • At the request of U.S. President Donald Trump, Russia offered help in the form of medical experts and supplies.

The “S” in BRICS

  • South Africa, the current rotating head of the African Union, is engaged in framing a pan-African response to COVID-19.

The “B” in BRICS

  • Only Brazil’s response may need a course correction.

  • In Brazil’s case resistance to breaking the infection chains through travel bans, lockdowns, isolation and testing appear to have led to an infection surge.

Where does the NDB’s model fit in this picture?

  • The New Development Bank of the BRICS has already demonstrated the way forward to allocate financial resources to combat COVID-19.

  • In April, NDB announced that it is going to disburse a $1 billion emergency loan to China, and subsequently to India, South Africa and Brazil.

  • The NDB had the financial heft to provide $10 billion in “crisis-related assistance” to BRICS member countries.

The next step for BRICS –  COORDINATION

  • BRICS has demonstrated their comparative strengths as providers of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR).

  • BRICS countries now need to pool and coordinate their efforts, in partnership with the WHO, and Europe and North America, as part of a global assault on the virus.

  • BRICS countries also need to earmark resources and assets to combat a whole range of natural disasters, with special focus on the emerging economies and the global south.

  • The NDB’s financial model demonstrated to address the pandemic, can now become a template to address natural disasters.

Bodies like BRICS have remained the favourite child of UPSC. Be it questions in prelims or mains. A question based on the regional grouping could be asked by the UPSC, for ex- “BRICS nations have proved to be more than merely an economic grouping. In light of the above statement, discuss the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) potential of the BRICS countries.”

Conclusion

BRICS in future can leverage the coordination among them to work on finding the vaccine and also build on the experience gathered from the pandemic to form a disaster response policy in the future.


Back2Basics: BRICS

  • BRICS is the acronym coined for an association of five major emerging national economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
  • Originally the first four were grouped as “BRIC” (or “the BRICs”), before the induction of South Africa in 2010.
  • The BRICS members are known for their significant influence on regional affairs; all are members of G20.
  • Since 2009, the BRICS nations have met annually at formal summits. China hosted the 9th BRICS summit in Xiamen on September 2017, while Brazil hosted the most recent 11th BRICS summit on 13-14 November 2019.

New Development Bank and the Fortaleza Declaration

  • During the sixth BRICS Summit in Fortaleza (2014), the leaders signed the Agreement establishing the New Development Bank (NDB).
  • In the Fortaleza Declaration, the leaders stressed that the NDB will strengthen cooperation among BRICS and will supplement the efforts of multilateral and regional financial institutions for global development, thus contributing to collective commitments for achieving the goal of strong, sustainable and balanced growth.
  • The bank was established in July 2015 by the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).
  • The aim of the bank is to mobilize funding for infrastructure and sustainable development.
  • Its ownership structure is unique, as the BRICS countries each have an equal share and no country has any veto power.
  • In this sense, the bank is a physical expression of the desire of emerging markets to play a bigger role in global governance.
  • NDB was created to help fill the funding gap in the BRICS economies and was intended to grow its global scope over time.
  • The bank, with its subscribed capital base of US$50bn, is now poised to become a meaningful additional source of long-term finance for infrastructure in its member countries.

BRICS Summits

[op-ed snap] As India prepares to honour Bolsonaro

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much.

Mains level : Paper 2- BRICS- challenges and areas of cooperation.

Context

India has invited the Brazilian President to be a guest of honour for Republic Day 2020. It is also a good opportunity for focusing on intra-BRICS partnership and trade.

Future of the BRICS

  • To move towards multi-polarity: This was set up as a move towards greater multi-polarity; hence the spread across three continents and both hemispheres.
    • Infirmities in the group: The BRICS combination accounts for about one-third of global output, but a glance at the GDP t and growth rates will show the infirmities of the group.
    • Differences in GDP: In terms of GDP, China occupies the second position; India the fifth; Brazil the ninth; Russia the 11th; and South Africa the 35th.
    • Differences in growth rate: In terms of growth rates, China grew at 6%; India at 4.5%, Russia 1.7%, Brazil 1.2% and South Africa 0.1%.
    • Both politically and economically, Brazil and South Africa have been the laggards in recent years. But there are certain similarities as well.
  • Similarities in the group: Each country has different economic and political leverage and its own burden of domestic and external issues.
    • Decision-making structure: They all share the benefits of autonomous decision making.
    • Non-affiliation: The members of the group have non-affiliation with any binding alliances.
    • Informal structure: The group’s informal structure is an advantage for coordination among the most influential non-Western countries.
  • Challenges to the survival of the group: The BRICS group can survive only if its members maximise their congruencies to the extent possible. Following are the challenges to the existence of the group-
    • The growing intensity of Sino-Russian ties.
    • The pro-American leanings in Brazil.
    • The socio-economic difficulties of South Africa after nine years under the controversial Jacob Zuma.
    • India’s many difficulties with China, including its abstention from the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

Achievement of the grouping

  • New Development Bank: The main achievement of BRICS is the New Development Bank, with each country contributing equally to its equity.
    • The bank has so far financed over 40 projects at a cost of $12 billion.
    • The BRICS countries are also developing a joint payments mechanism to reduce foreign trade settlements in U.S. dollars.
  • BASICS: An offshoot of the group, dealing with climate change, is BASIC (BRICS without Russia).
    • BASICS met at the Spain conference last month and reiterated its support to the Paris Agreement.
  • India’s lead role: India is taking the lead role in-
    • Digital health, Digital forensics
    • Film technology.
    • Traditional medicine.
    • Sustainable water management,
    • Internships and fellowships.

Brazil-India relation

  • Visa waiver for Indians: Brazil declared the decision to waive visa requirements for Indian citizens.
  • Potential for investments: There is potential for Brazilian investments in the sectors of space and defence, agricultural equipment, animal husbandry, post-harvest technologies, and bio-fuels.
  • Low two-way trade: The total two-way trade is at a paltry $8 billion, and the prospect of closer economic ties, however desirable, would require considerable optimism.

Conclusion

Both India and Brazil need to further deepen the ties and increase cooperation in various areas of cooperation. BRICS, despite the various challenges, need to focus on congruencies between them and work towards greater cooperation.

.

 

BRICS Summits

[pib] BRICS remote Sensing Satellite Constellation

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Remote sensing constellation

Mains level : Space cooperation amongst BRICS nations

The space agencies of BRICS nations have been negotiating a Framework Agreement to formalize the cooperation on building a ‘virtual constellation of remote sensing satellites’.

About the constellation

  • The purpose of the proposed virtual constellation is to get access to satellite remote sensing data, which could be used by the individual BRICS nations for various applications including natural resources management and disaster management.
  • There are two phases proposed for the Constellation: phase one, comprising a virtual constellation of existing satellites; and phase two, a new satellite constellation.
  • It will create a system for the sharing of remote sensing data, meaning the data from each of the member countries’ existing Earth observation satellites will be made available to all the other members.

Why need such constellation?

  • The BRICS represents 43 percent of the world’s population, 30 percent of gross domestic product and 17 percent of global trade and they have been trying to enhance co-operation in different fields, including space.
  • Currently, only Brazil, Russia, India and China have remote-sensing satellites in the sun-synchronous orbit, and they will provide data to South Africa, which does not have a satellite of its own.

BRICS Summits

BRICS Summit in Brazil

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : BRICS

Mains level : Significance of BRICS for India

What is the news: The 11th BRICS Summit took place from 13th 14th November 2019 in Brasilia, Brazil.

  • The theme of the 2019 BRICS summit is “Economic Growth for an Innovative Future.”
  • BRICS countries adopted the Brasilia Declaration.

Brasilia Declaration

  • It advocates and supports multilateralism, the central role of the U.N. in international affairs and respect for international law.
  • Reforming Multilateral Systems: There is an urgent need to strengthen and reform the United Nations and other multilateral organisations, including the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), to address the significant challenges being faced by the developing countries.
  • Support to Multilateralism: The trade war between China and the U.S. and rising protectionism is hurting the global economy. Multilateralism is crucial for emerging countries to protect their own interests.

India’s Stand at the Summit

  • Intra-BRICS trade accounts for just 15% of world trade, it needs to be increased. India invited business leaders of the member nations for investment, particularly in infrastructure development.
  • India proposed to hold the first meeting of BRICS Water Ministers in India.
  • India highlighted the menace of terrorism which has resulted in the loss of $1 trillion to the world economy.

Meetings on the sidelines of the Summit

India – Brazil

    • India invited the President of Brazil as the Chief Guest at the Republic Day 2020.
    • Brazil has decided to grant visa-free travel to Indian citizens.

India – China

    • The Chinese President invited the Indian Prime Minister for the 3rd informal summit in China in 2020. The first informal summit took place at Wuhan (China-2018) and second at Mamallapuram (India-2019).
    • Both the leaders reviewed preparations for celebrating the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries in 2020.

India – Russia

    • 1st Bilateral Regional Forum at the level of Russian Provinces and the Indian States will be held in 2020.
    • India has been invited for investment in the Arctic region. The US $ 25 billion targets of bilateral trade by 2025 has already been achieved.

BRICS

  • BRICS is an acronym for the grouping of the world’s leading emerging economies, namely Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
  • The BRICS Leaders’ Summit is convened annually.
  • It does not exist in the form of organization, but it is an annual summit between the supreme leaders of five nations.

Its inception

  • On November 30, 2001, Jim O’Neill, a British economist who was then chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, coined the term ‘BRIC’ to describe the four emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, and China.
  • He made a case for BRIC on the basis of econometric analyses projecting that the four economies would individually and collectively occupy far greater economic space and become among the world’s largest economies in the next 50 years or so.

Formation

  • The grouping was formalized during the first meeting of BRIC Foreign Ministers on the margins of the UNGA in New York in September 2006.
  • The first BRIC Summit took place in 2009 in the Russian Federation and focused on issues such as reform of the global financial architecture.

Members

  • South Africa was invited to join BRIC in December 2010, after which the group adopted the acronym BRICS. South Africa subsequently attended the Third BRICS Summit in Sanya, China, in March 2011.
  • The Chairmanship of the forum is rotated annually among the members, in accordance with the acronym B-R-I-C-S.
  • BRICS now brings together five economies accounting for 42% of the world’s population, 23% of the global GDP and an around 17% share of world trade.
  • The five BRICS countries are also members of G-20

BRICS Summits

IBSA Dialogue Forum

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : IBSA

Mains level : Kochi meet revive IBSA to secure south south cooperation.

CONTEXT

Even as two member-states (India and South Africa) of the IBSA Dialogue Forum have been busy with national elections and the third (Brazil) is settling down after its recent presidential elections, their foreign policy mandarins met in Kochi, May 3-5. The central goal was to develop a blueprint to rejuvenate IBSA, widely viewed as a unique voice for the Global South. Will this endeavour succeed?

History of IBSA

  • The idea of creating a grouping composed of major democracies of three continents, Asia, Africa and South America, emerged from the disarray at the end of the 20th century, and the perceived need for developing countries to forge decisive leadership.
  • IBSA was launched through the Brasilia Declaration in 2003.
  • Its summits, between 2006 and 2011, gave it a special global profile.

Downfall of IBSA

  • But, 2011 onwards, BRICS, the larger group comprising IBSA countries, China and Russia, started to overshadow IBSA.
  • IBSA has been unable, until now, to hold its sixth summit.
  • Nevertheless, a series of events marking its 15th anniversary, held during 2018-19, have imparted new momentum to the endeavour to revitalise IBSA.

Importance of IBSA

Solidarity among developing countries – Throughout the period of its marginalisation by BRICS, a strong body of officials and experts in the three countries has held the view that IBSA is the true inheritor of solidarity among developing countries, which was nurtured from the Bandung Conference (1955) through UNCTAD and G-77 to the BAPA+40 Declaration (2018).

South – South Cooperation – It is the champion of South-South Cooperation, and the advocate of a coordinated response by developing economies to secure the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

 Shared Values – The glue that binds IBSA countries together is their faith in democracy, diversity, plurality, inclusivity, human rights and rule of law. This was reiterated through the IBSA Declaration on South-South Cooperation, issued in Pretoria in June 2018.

Reforms in International Organisations –

  • Notably IBSA remains determined to “step up advocacy for reforms of global governance institutions in multilateral fora”.
  • In particular, it is strongly committed to the expansion of the UN Security Council.
  • As Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj put it, “We three have to ensure that our collective voice is heard clearly in BRICS and other groups on UN Security Council reforms, since if we do not speak for our own interests, no one else will.”

Kochi meeting

  •  The IBSA Academic Forum, comprising independent experts, held its sixth session in Kochi after a hiatus of over seven years.
  • This forum hosted a candid and comprehensive exchange of views on the continuing relevance of IBSA; the need for a strategy to secure SDGs and cement South-South Cooperation; expanding trade cooperation; and the shared goal of enhancing academic collaboration on issues relating directly to the needs of democratic societies.

Revitalisation Of IBSA

  • First, the three Foreign Ministers have been meeting regularly to provide coordinated leadership to the grouping.
  • Second, while the India, Brazil and South Africa Facility for Poverty and Hunger Alleviation (IBSA Fund) is small in monetary terms, it has succeeded in implementing 31 development projects in diverse countries: Burundi, Guinea-Bissau, State of Palestine, Cambodia and Vietnam, among others.
  • Third, India has been running an innovative IBSA Visiting Fellows Programme through the Delhi-based think tank, RIS or Research and Information System for Developing Countries.

 

Conclusion

  • The idea of IBSA remains valid.
  • The special responsibilities it bears cannot be discharged by BRICS. I
  • n fact, strengthening IBSA could increase the effectiveness of BRICS and encourage it to follow a more balanced approach on key issues of interest to India, Brazil and South Africa.
  • Hence, the current endeavours to infuse greater dynamism in IBSA are well-timed.
  • They would need buy-in by the government that comes to power in India. Support by Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro and South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa, who has just won re-election as President, would be crucial.

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.

Timeline

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
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