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With geostrategic positions getting realigned and walled apart again, smaller groupings will face existential tests. Take the BRICS business forum that is currently underway. With India-China ties going through a rough patch, it’s hard to say how much this club can achieve. The meeting is taking place in the backdrop of a war in Ukraine, and China’s stand on it seems guided more by its rivalry with the US than closeness with Russia. India has been far better balanced, having maintained independent ties with Russia on the one hand and upheld the value of relations with the US on the other.

New Delhi’s stance will leave Beijing peeved as it tries to rally other countries to its anti-US position. With economic recession risks now staring all in the face, a post-covid recovery may need some policy coordination. Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his BRICS address on Thursday spoke of a similar disposition among its five members towards how the global economy is governed to emphasize the role it could play. Yet, common ground may prove elusive. The founding logic of the five’s dynamism as economies has weakened. And India must stay wary of Chinese dominance.

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