A consequential shift in the geopolitical landscape has emerged with the expansion of the BRICS alliance, a group originally comprised of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. This expansion, involving the inclusion of six additional nations, heralds a new era of global cooperation and influence.
President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, the host nation for the recent BRICS summit, made history on August 24th by disclosing the names of the newly admitted countries into the alliance. Argentina, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, and Egypt now join the ranks of BRICS. This expansion, a product of careful consideration, not only diversifies the alliance but also serves as a platform for emerging economies from various corners of the world to synchronize their objectives on the global stage.
The process leading to this expansion was marked by deliberate strategy rather than sudden change. Official sources had already indicated that BRICS was in the midst of extending invitations to potential new members. This strategic maneuver holds the potential to cultivate partnerships with nations keen on collaborating within a united front dedicated to advancing the priorities of the “Global South.”
During the BRICS summit, President Ramaphosa extended an invitation to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to address the assembly. In his address, PM Modi fervently endorsed the expansion initiative while advocating for a more inclusive and balanced “multi-polar” world order. Additionally, he seized the occasion to spotlight India’s impressive achievements in space exploration and scientific research, underlining the nation’s unwavering commitment to technological progress.
China’s previous proposal to include Pakistan within the BRICS alliance introduced a diplomatic complexity, injecting nuances into the proceedings. China’s argument for this expansion was grounded in the belief that BRICS should encompass a broader membership to represent a wider array of developing nations. However, this notion encountered resistance, particularly from India. The opposition stemmed from concerns that an expanded BRICS could dilute the alliance’s fundamental objectives and potentially weaken the consensus among its original constituents.
India’s stance on expansion has evolved over time. Initially cautious, India had expressed reservations about broadening BRICS’ membership, citing concerns about straying from the alliance’s core objectives and compromising established agreement. Even attempts by Belarus to join had encountered opposition from New Delhi. Nevertheless, in a significant pivot, PM Modi, on August 23rd, voiced support for the consortium’s enlargement. He underscored India’s unwavering dedication to fellow nations in the Global South, aligning this stance with the country’s leadership of the G20 presidency.