With the focus of the BRICS Xiamen Summit in China on the theme "Stronger Partnership for a Brighter Future", BRICS cooperation has ushered into a new era of its future development and has set sail on a new journey of cooperation.BRICS cooperation has traversed a glorious journey of one decade. BRICS countries are all members of the Group of 20. With vast territories and big populations, BRICS countries carry much weight in the world economic paradigm. Over the past decade, BRICS economic aggregate has soared from 12% of the global total to 23%, and its share in international trade increased from 11% to 16%.
After more than a decade of existence, BRICS has developed a robust framework for cooperation. It has contributed immensely for the stability and growth in a world which is drifting towards uncertainty in today’s time. While trade and economy have been the foundation of cooperation in BRICS grouping, the endeavours have also touched other diverse areas such as technology, tradition, culture, agriculture, environment, energy, sports, and ICT. One of the best examples of deliverables outcome of BRICS is the New Development Bank which has started disbursing loans in pursuit of its mandate to mobilize resources for infrastructure and sustainable development in BRICS countries.Together, BRICS countries have formulated the Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership, which draws up systematic plans for deepening economic cooperation and fostering integrated trade and investment markets. As the world undergoes profound and complex changes, BRICS cooperation has become more important in today’s time. People of the BRICS Countries expect that this multilateral forum will jointly boost development and will improve their well-being. The international community also expects from BRICS that it will make significant contribution to world peace and common development. There is a need to redouble the efforts to comprehensively deepen BRICS partnership and usher in the second "Golden Decade" of BRICS cooperation.
BRICS needs to stay focused on promoting results-oriented economic cooperation, and expand converging interests in trade and investment, currency and finance, connectivity, sustainable development, innovation and industrial cooperation. In 2017, BRICS have formulated the BRICS Trade in Services Cooperation Roadmap, the Outlines for BRICS Investment Facilitation, the BRICS E-Commerce Cooperation Initiative, the BRICS Action Plan for Innovation Cooperation and the Action Plan for Deepening Industrial Cooperation Among BRICS Countries.
In last decade, BRICS nations have strengthened the complementarity of their development strategies. Despite the differences in national conditions, five countries of BRICS are in a similar stage of development and share the same development goals. All countries face an arduous task in growing the economy. Strengthening the complementarity of development strategies will certainly help in bringing out the comparative strengths in resources, market and labor force, and will realise the growth potential of the five countries and the creativity of three billion people of BRICS nations by opening up huge space for development.
India under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has shown its commitment to multilateralism and the basic norms which governs international relations and has also approached its international relations in such a way so as to foster a peaceful and stable environment for the development of all countries across the world.Inthe multilateral forum of BRICS, India has always projected its vision to make economic globalization open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial for all across the globe and thus to build an open world economy. India has always advocated the need to advance the reform of global economic governance, increase the representation and voice of emerging market and developing countries, and inject new impetus into the efforts to address the development gap between the North and South and boost global growth.
India along with other countries in the BRICS groupinghas time and again emphasised the need to promote people-to-people exchanges because deeper cooperation and interactions among people actually holds the key to sound State-to-State relations. An important consensus which was reached in previous BRICS Summits at the leadership level on closer people-to-people exchanges is being translated into reality today. In 2017, people-to-people exchanges among five countries of BRICS have been in full swing, marked by the diverse activities of the BRICS Games, the BRICS Film Festival, the BRICS Culture Festival and the High-level Meeting on Traditional Medicine. Through joint efforts, BRICS Nations must ensure that these activities will take place regularly and should be institutionalized. All countries needs to expand their outreach to get the public more involved and encourage more lively exchanges of diverse cultures.
The recently concluded BRICS Summit at Xiamen in China was also in news because of the big diplomatic victory of India on the issue of terrorism in the Xiamen declaration, which, for the first time, named terror groups based in Pakistan as the five BRICS nations united in condemning terrorism and finding ways to eliminate it. Xiamen Declaration of BRICS 2017 has expressed deep concerns on the security situation in the region and violence caused by the Taliban, ISIL/DAISH, Al-Qaida and its affiliates including the Haqqani network, Lashkar-e-Taiba&Jaish-e-Mohammad.This is not only the first time that the Pakistani groups have been mentioned in a BRICS declaration, it also comes after last year’s summit in Goa where efforts to condemn the outfits were blocked by Chinese recalcitrance. In this context, it is significant that the Xiamen declaration comes at a summit hosted in China. After the Doklam standoff, some quarters had expected that Beijing will harden its position against Indian interests but China did eventually relent on Doklam as well as Pakistani terror outfits in the BRICS declaration suggests that New Delhi’s firmness and persistence in flagging the issue has paid off well.
In Conclusion, BRICS nations should join hands in order to make the international order more just and equitable in 21st century. In today’s era of uncertainty in global politics, the closer ties of BRICS nations with the rest of the world can play an important and active role in global governance. Without participation of BRICS nations, many pressing global challenges cannot be effectively resolved. There is an urgent need for BRICS nations to speak in one voice and jointly present solutions to issues concerning international peace and development.
(Siddharth Singh is Research Fellow with India Foundation)