Goa summit and beyond: Charting the future of BRICS

Goa summit and beyond: Charting the future of BRICS

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India’s presidency of the BRICS grouping of emerging powers has come to an end after a packed year of more than a hundred events, meetings, and conventions. The highlight was the meeting of the Heads of States organised in Goa on 15-16 October where all the leaders of BRICS countries were in attendance.
International developments in the past couple of years have squarely put the spotlight on the constituent countries of the BRICS forum. Russia’s expanding role in Syria, China’s One belt One Road initiative, which will have massive economic and political implications for Eurasia, South and South East Asia and Africa, and the centrality of India’s and China’s emission pathways to the success of the international climate agreement have accorded these countries a central role in some of the major global challenges of our times.
But the BRICS forum itself has faced questions of continuity for some time now, and the considerable slowing down of their economies, increasing antagonism and strategic clashes between China and India, as well as the pre-eminence of the growing Russia-China partnership have further reinforced these doubts.
Seen in this context, the BRICS governments’ push to further institutionalise and consolidate their progress is an indication of the importance they still attach to the forum, and a decade since coming together, they seem poised to expand beyond being an economic grouping demanding a seat at the high table to substantial cooperation in other sectors.Within last year, BRICS countries greatly diversified their cooperation through working groups on counter terrorism, employment, environment, agriculture, health, economy and trade, education and vocational training, anti-corruption, infrastructure, information and communication technologies (ICTs), and energy.

BRICS & BIMSTEC summits: What it means for India’s counter-terrorism diplomacy

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Indian diplomacy experienced an inflection point following the terrorist attack on September 18, 2016, at the Army encampment at Uri. Determined to raise costs for Pakistan to counter its strategy of bleeding India by a thousand cuts, the Indian government mounted an international campaign to paint Pakistan as a state-sponsor of global terrorism and to ‘isolate’ the country in the international community.
India made Pakistan’s state-sponsorship of terrorism, without naming it, a key element of its diplomatic agenda for the 8th BRICS summit hosted by it in Goa on October 15-16; the event also coincided with India-Russia and India-Brazil summit meetings. To deny Pakistan the chokehold on regional integration as well as to further ‘isolate’ it in the region, a BRICS’ outreach with the BIMSTEC at the summit level was organised. In all his interactions, Prime Minister Modi made a clear linkage between terrorism and economic prosperity, underlining Pakistan’s official complicity which casts a dark shadow on countries as well as on multilateral efforts to promote socio-economic progress. In his press statement, at the end of the annual India-Russia summit between PM Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin, he said Russia’s “clear stand on the need to combat terrorism mirrors our own.”
Prime Minister’s remarks on terrorism, at the concluding session of BRICS summit, were aimed at Pakistan when he declared that combating terrorism, “including cross-border terrorism and its supporters”, will be a key BRICS priority. The Goa Declaration, issued by the summit leaders, contains the key elements of India’s counterterrorism narrative but is less direct on the issue of isolation.
The BIMSTEC Outcome Document is even more satisfactory in terms of India’s counter-terrorism diplomacy.
Aiming to impose costs on Pakistan for pursuing its ‘low cost’ strategy, Indian diplomacy has widened the diplomatic and military space, in its bilateral relations with Pakistan, to ratchet up the pressure especially as focused military action to Pakistani terrorist provocations has not been ruled out. Against the backdrop of incandescent international anger against terrorism, Pakistan cannot misread the signals originating from Goa.

BRICS ratings up: Focus on terrorism, growth, institution-building

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The 8th BRICS summit ended on a high note with the birth of new institutions and initiatives like a credit rating agency which is set to provide greater strategic traction and cohesion to this grouping of emerging powers. In many ways, the Goa summit was a festival of ideas as many of India-backed initiatives were endorsed and found reflection in an all-encompassing 109-para Goa Declaration.
Institution Building
Sustainable institution building was the mantra that animated wide-ranging discussions between the leaders of India, China, Russia, Brazil and South Africa on October 16, with the five countries agreeing to set up a credit rating agency for emerging powers, BRICS Agriculture Research Platform and BRICS Railways Research Network and BRICS Sports Council.
The 8th BRICS summit was also marked by a striking convergence of views on the imperative need to jointly combat terrorism, with the joint declaration emphatically stating that states should not allow their territory to be used for terrorism, a veiled reference to Pakistan.
India tried hard to put explicit references to the Uri attack and cross-border terrorism – a shorthand for Pakistan’s use of terror against India – but it seems Pakistan’s powerful friend China was not in favour of naming and shaming in the joint declaration. India would have liked the Goa Declaration to specifically mention anti-India terror outfits like Jaish-e-Moahammed, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hizbul Muzahideen, but in the end it was decided to focus on firming up a broad architecture of counter-terror cooperation in the BRICS.
The Goa Action Plan has raised the bar for invigorating intra-BRICS cooperation across the spectrum, and should silence sceptics who are prone to scoff at the BRICS as a glorified talk shop. The BRICS is not only talking big, but is also thinking big, and walking the talk.

BRICS summit: Modi targets ‘mother-ship of terrorism’ Pakistan, jihadi mindset

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Putting terrorism on top of the BRICS agenda, India’s Prime Minister Narendra launched a blistering attack on the “mother-ship of terrorism,” an all-too obvious reference to Pakistan, and exhorted emerging powers and the region to rally together in combating this scourge.

“The most serious direct threat to our eco prosperity is terrorism; Tragically, its mother-ship is a country in India’s neighbourhood,” Mr Modi told leaders of other BRICS countries at the plenary of the 8thsummit of emerging powers at the majestic Dome of the Taj Exotica hotel in Benaulim.

Rejuvenating BRICS in Goa: What’s on the agenda?

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Amid the festering recession in wide swathes of the world and a conflicted geopolitical landscape, India is poised to host the 8th BRICS summit in the picturesque resort city of Goa, which is expected to unveil a raft of new ideas and initiatives,designed to provide an added strategic traction to this influential grouping of emerging powers.

India has declared I4C or IIIIC as the framing mantra for the 8th BRICS summit, which includes Institution Building, Implementation, Integration, Innovation, and Continuity with Consolidation.In a deft word game, the BRICS acronym has been reinvented, with the overarching objective of “Building Responsive, Inclusive and Collective Solutions” to pressing global challenges.

Behind India’s BIMSTEC-BRICS gamble: How to isolate Pakistan

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Marking the near complete isolation of Pakistan in the region, terrorism is set to dominate the agenda of dual summits of BRICS and BIMSTEC countries India is hosting in Goa October 15-16.

With Pakistan showing no sign of abandoning terrorism as an instrument of state policy, the overarching focus of India will be to get both BRICS and BIMSTEC groupings to back a collective approach to combating the scourge. India will be pressing these groupings to support a non-segmented approach to terror, which is necessary in view of the propensity of some countries to portray terrorists as freedom fighters, as Pakistan has done in the case of militants active in Kashmir.

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