India has announced its full support for the expansion of the BRICS group, further highlighting the growing consensus among the leaders of the five major emerging economies.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi made this announcement during the ongoing BRICS summit in Johannesburg. These remarks have provided clarity on India’s stance and signaled its willingness to move forward with the expansion plans.
Russia and China have been championing the expansion of BRICS, and their efforts have received support from South Africa as well. The South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, confirmed this support on Sunday. While there were initial concerns about how countries like India and Brazil, which traditionally prioritize non-alignment in their foreign policy, would react to the expansion, Modi’s statement has put those concerns to rest.
According to South African officials, more than 40 countries from the Global South have expressed interest in joining BRICS, with over 20 of them formally requesting to become members. This shows the increasing popularity and perceived importance of the BRICS group on the world stage. It also highlights the potential benefits of being a part of this association for emerging economies.
Argentina is currently facing significant challenges, including historic inflation, a lack of foreign reserves, and the strain of debt repayments from a $44 billion loan agreement with the International Monetary Fund.
In regards to this situation, former Brazilian President Lula criticized the loans provided by the IMF as “suffocating” and hinted at the potential for increased lending by the BRICS bank to other countries, using different criteria in order to stimulate their economies.
Lula expressed his desire for the BRICS institution to function as a multilateral organization rather than an exclusive club. He emphasized that any new members wishing to join would need to meet specific conditions in order to prevent the group from becoming a “Tower of Babel.”
‘Development is not a privilege’
Leaders from the BRICS countries recently gathered for a three-day summit to discuss various priority areas for their respective nations. President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa emphasized the need to prioritize partnerships with Africa and advocated for putting the continent’s interests on the agenda. He also expressed concerns about the misuse of global financial and payment systems as tools of geopolitical conflict, stating that a predictable and stable global payment system is essential for global economic recovery.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, participating virtually, criticized what he called “ongoing neocolonialism” and countries that promote their own hegemony. He also expressed Russia’s openness to dialogue in order to find a resolution to the war in Ukraine, which Russian forces invaded in February 2022. Former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, also known as Lula, highlighted the need for BRICS countries to join forces in seeking an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine. He further emphasized the importance of addressing other conflicts that often go unnoticed and advocated for decolonizing economies and prioritizing action on the climate crisis.
The theme of the summit, “Development is not a privilege,” underscores the collective commitment of BRICS nations to promote inclusive and sustainable development for all. It reflects the shared belief that development should not be limited to a select few but should be accessible and beneficial to all nations and their citizens. This inclusive understanding of development is rooted in a rejection of neocolonialism and the pursuit of hegemonic agendas.
The leaders’ remarks at the summit highlight the multifaceted challenges and priorities facing the BRICS nations. Economic stability, financial systems, and the smooth operation of banking, supply chains, trade, and tourism are crucial for global economic recovery and growth. Addressing these issues requires international cooperation, dialogue, and reforms to ensure a fair and equitable financial system that serves the interests of all nations.
Furthermore, the leaders recognize the urgent need to address conflicts around the world, particularly the ongoing war in Ukraine. They underscore the importance of seeking a peaceful resolution and advocating for an immediate ceasefire. Additionally, they emphasize the need to bring attention to other conflicts that often receive insufficient international attention and support.
Modi emphasized the achievements of the BRICS group over the past 15 years, with particular emphasis on the success of the New Development Bank and the contingent reserve arrangement. These initiatives have provided crucial support to emerging markets and strengthened their financial stability.
Xi expressed his satisfaction at the interest shown by many countries in joining BRICS and stressed the importance of cooperation for sustainable growth. He criticized the growing tendency towards a “Cold War mentality” worldwide and called for respect towards different paths of modernization chosen by individual nations.
Ramaphosa reiterated that development should not be limited to a select few and emphasized the need for unity within the BRICS group. He also highlighted the group’s role in promoting global stability.