In the BRICS group, differences have come to the fore between two important members of a group, China and India, regarding what should be a strategy for its expansion. During the three-day BRICS Sherpa meeting that started in Durban on Tuesday, India-china presented its stand regarding. India wants the entry of new members into BRICS, a group of developing countries, should be based on pre-determined clear criteria, and not just based on recommendations of existing members.
In meeting, India clearly said that first some standards like GDP size, and population. Should be fixed for membership, then it should be seen how many of these criteria the country seeking membership Fulfils, only then a decision on membership should be taken. Significantly, the expansion of BRICS membership was suggested by China during the virtual summit held under its chairmanship last year. This suggestion of President Jinping is linked to China’s expansionist aspiration, under which it wants to make its influential countries a member of the group to increase its influence in the group.
19 countries want to become members
So far 19 countries have expressed interest in BRICS membership. Of these, 13 countries have shown interest formally and 6 countries have shown interest informally. Interested countries include Argentina, Nigeria, Algeria, Indonesia, Egypt, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Bangladesh and Pakistan have also shown interest in becoming members.
It has become clear in the meeting that some of the existing members are pushing for membership in certain countries. Brazil’s emphasis is on making Argentina a member. At the same time, China and Russia want Saudi Arabia to become a member. China urges Indonesia, and Iran to become members as well. But India insists that there should be some degree of fairness in the selection process. For example, when South Africa qualified as a member, why should Nigeria, a large economy, be left out? Significantly, before South Africa became a member, the grouping was named after the first letter of the four-member countries, Brazil, Russia, China and India and in 2010, when South Africa became a member, it was named BRICS.
New members will be decided in August
The three-day meeting that began on Tuesday discussed whether there is a need for immediate expansion of the grouping and if so, how many new members should be inducted and on what basis. Will give a report on, the 15th summit of countries to be held in Johannesburg in August.
BRICS countries represent more than a quarter of the global GDP and 42 per cent of the world’s population. Another issue that will figure prominently in the summit in August with the membership of the new countries is the BRICS countries coming out with their currency and introducing an alternative to the dollar in global trade.
Not only in BRICS, India has also started working on a strategy to limit China’s influence in Africa. According to a report, Africa has become the second largest group in terms of loans from India. India has distributed $32 billion in 42 African countries in the last 10 years. That is, India has given only 38 per cent of the loan given by India to Africa. While China has given loans worth $134 billion to African countries till 2020.