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BRICS Forge Ahead As World Order Tumbles Toward Chaos

The BRICS members can agree on the idea of creating more mutually beneficial economic relationships, and this is the idea that can take the group forward, Valdai club expert Radhika Desai from the University of Manitoba, believes.

The greatest achievement of the Goa summit is that while the rest of the world order appears to be falling apart, especially in the aftermath of Brexit vote, the BRICS continue to pursue their cooperation, Radhika Desai, Professor at the Department of Political Studies and Director of the Geopolitical Economy Research Group at the University of Manitoba told valdaiclub.com Tuesday.

While it is true that Russia’s economy is currently not in its best shape, and that Brazil’s state is even worse, both China and India remain in a healthy shape, Desai said. Despite current issues, the countries are better off than they would be without the cooperation, and as a group, are growing faster than other economies, she added.

“The relationships that they create right now are going to be very important for the future, so an important achievement of this summit is consolidation of the institutions they have already built. While the rest of the world is falling apart, they continue to forge ahead,” Desai told valdaiclub.com.

She added that Western media attention to the BRICS summits has not been very fair and balanced, but that this should not be a barometer to go by.

“Every time there is a BRICS summit, the western press does not really report it. Or, it says in its reports that these countries are not important, or are not growing fast enough, or that all of these summit meetings are of no good,” Desai said.

According to Desai, BRICS is not likely to turn into a formal alliance and will instead be an increasingly important forum in understanding and shaping international economic governance. The BRICS members can agree on the idea of creating more mutually beneficial economic relationships, and this is the idea that can take the group forward, she believes.

Desai noted that turning the group into a military alliance would not necessarily be good for its development, especially as members of the group have some differences on security issues.

“There are important differences: the issue of Pakistan came to the fore in different ways. India not only has very hostile relations with Pakistan, but it also tried to use this summit to isolate Pakistan. Both China and Russia are not going to permit that to happen and they are correct on that. They should not permit that to happen, because this would create a very dangerous situation in the region,” Desai said.

As for Brazil, where Workers’ Party is not in power for the first time since the establishment of BRICS, Desai said that she did not see any real change in attitude to Brazil’s role in BRICS. It is still in Brazil’s interest to remain within the BRICS, she said. India also had a dramatic change of power in 2014, Desai noted, but this did not lead to any disengagement of India from the BRICS. “The powerful groups in both countries are very interested in using this platform to get various things they want, including foreign trade, investment deals and so on,” she said.

“I do not think that internal problems of Brazil are going to impact its commitment to BRICS,” Desai concluded.    

Views expressed are of individual Members and Contributors, rather than the Club's, unless explicitly stated otherwise.