Gathered in Beijing, the BRICS reject a unipolar world

The coalition bringing together the major emerging countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, or the BRICS – wants to increase its influence. It is preparing to welcome new members: Argentina, Nigeria, Kenya and Indonesia are candidates, and a decision on them should be taken at the 14th BRICS summit which takes place this Thursday and Friday in Beijing , in person and virtually. Today, the five members represent 3.2 billion people, or 42% of the world’s population and 31% of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP).

History is being written these days. Almost parallel to the BRICS meeting, the G7 summit (which brings together seven rich Western countries) will be held from June 26 to 28 in the small German town of Krün, in Bavaria. It will be followed by another meeting at the highest level, that of the Atlantic Alliance (NATO) on 29 and 30 June in Madrid. These various meetings lay the groundwork for a bipolar world where geopolitical and economic decisions would not be the prerogative of a single country or a single group. As the G7 and NATO prepare to announce new proposals to increase pressure on Russia, after four months of war in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin will be able to attend the BRICS summit. Three countries in the group (India, China, South Africa) had also abstained during the vote at the UN in May, which called on Russia to end its attack.

Read also: In the war in Ukraine, “China has chosen its side”

Covenant of circumstance

However, everything led to believe that the BRICS were going to die a beautiful death, as the coalition was perceived as an alliance of convenience with disparate interests. Brazil, for example, defends industrial and export agriculture, while India supports its artisanal peasantry. In addition, New Delhi and Beijing are engaged in a trade war which has led India to impose numerous restrictions on Chinese exports. The two countries are also waging an underhanded war along their common border in the Himalayas.

“There is undoubtedly a fault line between the BRICS, in which China plays a leading role, and Western countries, including the United States, are the leader”, comments a university professor from Geneva who prefers to remain anonymous. According to him, the economic instruments made available to members are attractive. In an interview at GlobalTimes, Chinese online media close to the government, the Argentinian ambassador based in Beijing affirms that “the BRICS cooperation mechanisms, in particular The New Development Bank, are based on mutual respect and on a win-win principle”. This financial institution was created in 2014 as an alternative to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, which apply strict lending conditions to emerging or developing countries that find themselves in difficulty.

Also read: The BRIC countries want to assert themselves against the industrialized economies

The Indian paradox

Among the African countries, Nigeria, 206 million inhabitants and important energy resources, as well as Kenya – which would represent East Africa – could become members of the BRICS. So far, South Africa, which joined the group in 2010, was the only country to represent the continent and its 1.4 billion people. In Asia, Indonesia offered to join the club.

In fact, a large number of countries in Asia, Africa and South America are already connected through the new Silk Roads, and their infrastructure projects are financed by the BRICS bank. India is the biggest beneficiary. “Of the 30 billion dollars spent on 80 projects, 21 are based in India and concern the establishment of infrastructure in the fields of water supply, transport and energy, for a total amount of 7.1 billion dollars”, underlines the Global Times. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi attends the BRICS summit in person. A paradox, since he also participated at the end of May in a meeting of the Quad, a military cooperation alliance formed by the United States, Japan, Australia and India, in Tokyo, against China.

Read again: The BRICS, a facade unit

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