Economic goals aside, a principle aim of the BRICS is creating a multi-polar world where political change gives the people of member states more clout, professor Shreeram Chaulia told RT.
South Africa is making final arrangements for a summit of the world’s fastest developing economies – known as the BRICS group – which is due to start on Tuesday.
The heads of government of Brazil, Russia, India, China and the host nation South Africa, will convene for a fifth time, with the group being hailed as potential game-changer for the International arena.
Professor and dean of New Delhi-based Jindal School of International Affairs, Shreeram Chaulia says the BRICS has justified its existence, making achievements both on the economic and political fields.
RT: This summit’s us significance is in the fact it concludes the first cycle hosted by all the members. So what’s the group actually achieved in that time?
Shreeram Chaulia: It has grown in political maturity. I would say that from the early days when it was seen as an upstart, was still getting its act together and resolving and ironing out some differences – we have come a long way in five years. The fact that these summits are continuing to be held is silencing some of the critics, who said it was a marriage of convenience or just a short piece item, nothing more. What we are seeing now is that the agenda has quite advanced, especially, in the economic realm. The economic integration between Latin America, Asia and Africa has been spearheaded by this vehicle of the BRICS. And BRICS has become, I would say microcosm of the multi-polar world order. And it’s no small achievement.
RT: The new Chinese leader Xi Jinping has strengthened relations with Russia on his first official visit abroad – to Moscow – will this have any significance on the group?
SC: Definitely, Russia and China are the central pillars of the BRICS. If you remember they were the originators of the concept and they have in many ways brought along South Africa, India and Brazil to play a larger role. And also Russia and China are much more global in their overall approach towards the world order and trying to transform the world order. The other three I would say are a little more “status quiet”, although they too want to move towards multi-polarity.
So, Russia and China, the fact that the leadership in both countries in emphasizing how this two can become a kind of a steering mechanism, within the five-member group of BRICS and in many ways set the agenda is undeniable. In India, we welcome the fact that Russia is there because it also helps us to overcome any concerns that China will somehow be the only dominant player. Russia and China together – it makes a fabulous combination because these two societies are emerging in a way of leading the pack in terms of the political agenda of this organization.
RT: You’re talking about the impact on the world order, but BRICS are described as an economic group, are you saying they are going to cross to the political line and have influence on the world diplomatic agenda?
SC: The BRICS represents 43 per cent of the world’s population. This is a huge chunk and they need a political change. People – and not only in the BRICS member countries, put peoples of the rest of the global South – are expecting change and this can’t happen without the political agenda be it in Syria, be it in Egypt, be it in Africa. We need to create multi-polarity. Multi-polarity is a political project. The economic vehicles, I see them as means for a achieving a political goal and end point, which is to create a more just and equitable world order.
RT: Egypt’s also expressed interest in joining the bloc. What would it offer the group, and how attractive would it be to the current Power Five?
SC: I hope they’ll eventually join, but right now the size and current state of the Egyptian economy doesn’t justify it, but eventually it’ll expand because there are more emerging economies and the more the better because that’s how we achieve the multi-polarity through multilateralism.