Auckland, June 26, 2022
Chinese President Xi Jinping and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi have called on the members of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) to consolidate the gains registered by the organisation and increase global cooperation.
Speaking at the Annual Summit of the five-nation body, they called on the world leaders to uphold solidarity and safeguard world peace and tranquillity.
The virtual Summit, held on June 23, 2022, was chaired by Mr Jinping and attended by the BRICS and other world leaders.
Fostering global partnership
The theme of the 14th Annual Summit was ‘Foster a Global Development Partnership for the New Era to Jointly Implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.’
Both leaders underscored the achievements of BRICS and sought closer global cooperation.
Mr Jinping said, “Some countries attempt to expand military alliances to seek absolute security, stoke bloc-based confrontation by coercing other countries into picking sides and pursue unilateral dominance at the expense of others’ rights and interests. If such dangerous trends are allowed to continue, the world will witness even more turbulence and insecurity.”
He said that BRICS countries should support each other on issues concerning core interests, practice true multilateralism, safeguard justice, fairness and solidarity and reject hegemony, bullying and division.
He said that China was keen to work with BRICS partners to operationalise the Global Security Initiative (GSI), advocate a vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, create a new path to security that features dialogue over confrontation, partnership over the alliance and win-win over zero-sum, and bring more stability and positive energy to the world.
Multilateral cooperation needed
Mr Jinping said that BRICS should also uphold cooperation to boost development and jointly tackle risks and challenges.
“The combination of the Covid-19 pandemic and the Ukraine crisis has cast shadows over development worldwide and emerging markets and developing countries bear the brunt. But just as a crisis may bring chaos, it can also spur change. A lot will ride on how we handle the crisis. BRICS countries should boost connectivity of industrial and supply chains and jointly meet challenges in poverty reduction, agriculture, energy, logistics and other fields,” he said.
Modi on structural changes
Mr Modi said that structural changes undertaken by the member nations over the last few years have increased the influence of the institution.
“Cooperation among the member nations in several sectors has benefited our citizens. BRICS members have a similar approach regarding the governance of the global economy. Our mutual cooperation can make a useful contribution to the global post-Covid recovery. I am confident that our deliberations today will produce suggestions to further strengthen our ties,” he said.
Challenges for India
In the latest issue of ‘Foreign Policy,’ (published by the Washington-based Graham Holdings Company), writer Colm Quinn said that India faces the challenge of keeping up its balancing act between East and West, especially as a Member of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue.
He has quoted Derek Grossman, a Senior Defence Analyst at the Rand Corp as saying that India lives in a rough neighbourhood and has been able to stick by its nonaligned policy to ensure its strategic autonomy.
“The country has done this by essentially engaging with everybody and has done a pretty good job of that. But as great-power competition continues to heat up, not just between the US and China but now the US and Russia, it is going to be increasingly difficult and delicate to maintain that balance,” he said.
Mr Quinn said that Indian officials are not naive about their position and are reportedly working to block any attempts to insert anti-US messaging into the BRICS joint statement as well as slow any attempts to expand the grouping.
That the BRICS grouping is not known as a particularly effective combination may work in India’s favour, he said and quoted Michael Kugelman, an Asia expert at the Wilson Centre and author of South Asia Brief of Foreign Policy.
Modi in high demand
“I think that India can make a gamble, which I think is pretty safe, and it can essentially pledge full support for everything BRICS is doing to show that it is a loyal member of the group while at the same time betting on the strong likelihood that BRICS will not be able to move the needle forward on a lot of the issues and plans that are discussed,” he said.
“That would then spare India from having to make awkward decisions about how far to go and pursue policies within BRICS that could put it at odds with the West,” Mr Kugelman added.
India is in high demand in a busy few weeks for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He was in Germany last week to attend the G-7 summit, and in July he joins another new grouping, I2-U2, with the leaders of Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States.