Today's Editorial

Today's Editorial - 30 June 2024

Expansion of BRICS~II

Why in the news?

When South Africa hosted the 15th BRICS Summit from 22 to 24 August 2023 in Johannesburg, several world leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended.

More detail about news: 

  • The issue of the bloc's expansion was extensively deliberated at the summit. The Russian President decided not to attend, skipping the summit.
  • To strengthen its claim of being a 'voice of the Global South', six countries - Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE - were invited to join the alliance.
  • The expansion decision raises both hope and fear of China's increasing dominance. It is however a truism that the addition of the developing nations to the bloc indicates establishing a solid coalition to serve the interests of the Global South In this scenario.
  • India's stance and understanding the implications for New Delhi is crucial as some ASEAN members have expressed interest in joining.
  • Reports suggest that over 40 nations have indicated interest in joining BRICS, with some sources stating 30 countries have conveyed willingness and 22 have formally applied.
  • This figure might increase with the interest of some ASEAN countries, as many see being part of BRICS as a major opportunity.
  • China initiated the conversation about expansion in 2022, aiming to build diplomatic clout to counter Western dominance in the UN and boost its economy post-Covid slowdown.

India's Stance on BRICS Expansion

  • India views rapid expansion with suspicion but hasn't opposed it publicly. Its official stance is that the expansion process should involve "full consultation and consensus" among members.
  • India’s External Affairs Minister has stated that BRICS expansion is a work in progress, with members approaching it positively and with an open mind.
  • India suggests considering emerging economies and democracies like Argentina and Nigeria for expansion, rather than autocratic regimes like Saudi Arabia.
  • New Delhi is skeptical of including new members that could tilt the bloc more towards China.
  • Every nation formulates its foreign and economic policies based on its national interests, and India's stance on BRICS expansion is no exception.
  • India stressed on the consensus principle to block some countries aspiring to be in Brics, as it feels their presence in the group would be unpalatable to its interests.

Geopolitical Dynamics within BRICS:

  • China and South Africa support the expansion, with Russia likely to align with China. However, India and Brazil are concerned about their influence diminishing.
  • India recognizes that the expansion move, supported by China and Russia, is seen as a direct challenge to the West and a way to counter Western dominance and global trade in dollars.
  • The core point is the strained relationship with China, which remains the primary driving force in determining India's stance on the membership issue.
  • India's alignment with the West remains a major factor in its decisions regarding certain states.
    • For example, it is a truism that India’s alignment with the West remains a major factor for its decisions regarding certain states., 
    • India’s decision to block Belarus from joining the Brics stemmed from its stance on Ukraine and sanctions from the West. 
    • Another example is its stance on Cuba as India endorsed the US position that Cuba provides a safe haven for Chinese spies and thus blocked the South American developing economy in the Brics framework.
  • India is opposed to several countries that hold anti-Western positions aspiring to be in the Brics fold.

Economic and Strategic Implications

  • If Brics were to launch its own currency, it could provide an alternative to the dollar and could reduce its dominance.
  • When the Ukraine war broke out and the West imposed sanctions on Russia, countries including India started using alternate currencies for trade.
  • New Delhi used Chinese yuan to make payments for Russian oil imports.
  • The New Development Bank (NDB), established by Brics countries, can play a crucial role in providing funding for infrastructure projects, sustainable development initiatives and other priority areas.
  • The expansion of BRICS could potentially serve a major blow to the US dollar's status as the world's reserve currency.

India's Strategic stance on Pakistan

  • India’s stance on Pakistan is not surprising. Given China’s interest in Pakistan’s integration into the Brics framework and against the Indo-Pak rivalry over a host of issues, 
  • India is not expected to endorse China’s efforts to rope in Pakistan to develop Brics as a geopolitical rival to the Western group..
    • Islamabad is aware that India is committed to its principle of unanimity in the expansion mechanism of Brics and would resist Pakistan's inclusion.
  • India would not yield space for China's designs to bring countries subscribing to its policies into Brics, as that would undermine its own interests.
  • India is sensitive to the possibility that China could utilise Brics to expand its strategic influence in the developing world.
  • India maintains its policy of Neighbourhood First minus Pakistan, which stems from its historical experiences.
  • As long as India-Pakistan relations are not normalized, India is likely to block any effort to bring Pakistan into the framework.
  • Critics might argue that India's stance contradicts the principles underlying the formation of the alliance.
    • When national interests and security come into play, there cannot be any compromise and India must not be expected to deviate from its stance.
  • India is unlikely to concede to China's design to rope in Pakistan into the Brics framework, which would expand its strategic influence in the developing world and be detrimental to India's interests.


The expansion of BRICS presents both opportunities and challenges for its members, particularly India. While it could potentially strengthen the bloc's global influence and provide alternatives to Western-dominated financial systems, it also raises concerns about shifting power dynamics within the group. India's stance on expansion reflects its complex geopolitical considerations, balancing its own strategic interests against China's growing influence.

Book A Free Counseling Session

What's Today