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BRICS need to draw a Charter of Principles April 19, 2011

Posted by southasiamasala in : India, Mishra, Binoda Kumar , comments closed

Binoda Kumar Mishra

The recently concluded third BRIC and first BRICS summit is being perceived both optimistically and pessimistically. If one goes by the media reports, the Western media perception is somewhat rejectionist. While the West watches the developments in BRICS closely, it likes to think it does not emerge as a strong bloc. The Western fear lies in the current international trend which shows the decline in Western dominance and the sustained rise of non-Western countries, particularly the BRICS. The West is not unmindful of the fact that BRICS was a coinage originating from their own analysis of the future international economic situation. It was Jim O’Neill of Goldman Sachs who in 2001 predicted the growing importance of BRIC countries, particularly China in the coming decade. It secondly predicted in 2003 that by 2050 each of the BRIC countries would surpass the then G7 countries and specifically China would surpass all other economies except the US by 2016. To their surprise China reached that target six years early. Thus, there are genuine anxieties in the West about the loss of economic predominance to these BRIC countries.

To their further surprise, they are seeing the BRIC countries coming together to create a platform, particularly against the backdrop of global economic recession, to lead the global economic recovery. Only in its third year of existence, it has expanded with the inclusion of South Africa, making it BRICS. The Sanya summit of the BRICS leaders sends very interesting signals for the international community, which can be interpreted as pro-active and at the same time cautious. A cursory look at the declaration would suggest that it is an association of economically evolving countries pledging to assist each other in their aspiration to emerge as important economic powers. Viewed thus, it is an economic club with little political importance in international relations. The passing reference to the current turmoil in the Arab world is not significant as such posturing is not going to impact on the process that is unfolding in the Arab world. The West is not going to change course due to BRICS declaration against the use of force in Libya.