Home / Politics / Policy /  BRICS summit begins today: What to watch out for

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, along with the heads of Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa, will be in Johannesburg to take part in the 10th BRICS summit starting Wednesday. Mint analyses the relevance of BRICS and what to watch out for at the summit.

What is expected from the BRICS summit this time?

The summit is being held at a time when unilateral trade actions by US President Donald Trump have set off a global trade war that could cost the world $430 billion by 2020, according to International Monetary Fund estimates. The five countries, especially China, which has been the key target of US actions, are likely to protest the protectionist measures of the Trump administration. India is likely to support a generic statement against growing protectionism without naming the US.

What will India push for at the BRICS summit?

India is keen to set up a BRICS rating agency, arguing that the methodology of S&P, Fitch and Moody’s is biased against developing nations. Though it presented a feasibility study at the 2016 meet, other members were not much enthused. India will likely push for the plan again.

Modi has called for a BRICS counterterrorism strategy, including joint action on money laundering, terrorist financing, cyberspace and deradicalization. India will seek a stronger statement against cross-border terror to send a message to Pakistan.

What other issues could be discussed?

Cooperation in the areas of counterterrorism, UN reforms, cyber security, energy security and global and regional issues are likely to be discussed.

Where does India stand on the socioeconomic parameters in the BRICS grouping?

Although India is the second-largest economy in the grouping behind China, its per capita income ($1,750) is the lowest among the five member countries. The country’s infant mortality rate (per 1,000 live births) is the highest at 37—compared to Russia’s 6—while its public expenditure on health as a percent of gross domestic product is the lowest at 1.2%, against China’s 6%.

What is the relevance of BRICS grouping?

The grouping has survived for 10 years despite the inherent contradictions among its members: autocratic governments in China and Russia; the rivalry and border disputes between China and India; South Africa and India competing for permanent membership of UN Security Council. BRICS nations have raised concerns over growing protectionism. The New Development Bank set up in 2014 is a big achievement of BRICS.

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