ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Crumbling Mortar of BRICS

Is BRICS merely an overhyped acronym to cover up a fuzzy geoeconomic concept?


The ministerial meeting held in Rio de Janeiro on 28 July 2019 for articulating the agenda of the forthcoming 11th BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) Summit in November 2019 began on a note of discordance among the member countries on the issue of resolution of the Venezuelan crisis. This discordancy—a manifestation of the closure of an era of expanding global cooperation—however, has not stifled the prima facie consensus of the members regarding the need for dialogues on various issues of cooperation, including science, technology, innovation, digital economy, and in countering terrorism and money laundering. However, it remains to be seen whether this consensus can revive the plummeting hope of BRICS to evolve into a grown-up force with its own institutions.

Beyond the conceptual (and subsequently rhetorical) usefulness of binding the most prominent emerging economies of the world, the functional efficacy of the association of these countries has always been a matter of uncertainty given their varying fiscal and political realities. What adds to the ambiguity this year is Brazil’s shifting foreign policy priorities under the current tenure of President Jair Bolsonaro. The Brazilian foreign policies for almost a decade and a half now have been premised on the generic acceptance of a multipolar world. While Bolsonaro’s predecessors had sought multilateralism in the genre of South–South cooperation to mark their country’s presence as a “balancing force” in this multipolarity, the new diplomacy has blatantly rejected multilateralism in favour of privileged relations with the Western nations, especially the United States (US). With restricted (or no) global ambitions that are potentially aligned with this diplomatic objective—be it withdrawing from the recently signed global pact on migration, or an abrupt change to contentious diplomatic relations with the decade-old trade partner China, or the self-declared reliance on American political/military intervention for toppling the presidency of Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela—Brazil appears to be a weak link of BRICS.

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Updated On : 13th Aug, 2019
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