BENAULIM (GOA): 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.
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.
“We were united in our view to establish the BRICS Agriculture Research Platform, BRICS Railway Research Network, BRICS Sports Council, and various youth-centric fora,” said India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a summing-up statement at the end of the summit.
“In order to further bridge the gap in the global financial architecture, we agreed to fast track the setting up of a BRICS Rating Agency,” said Mr Modi.
Mr Modi, who had proposed many of these initiatives in his 10-point plan called Das Kadam at the 7th BRICS summit in Ufa, looked satisfied with key outcomes of the 8th summit, and underlined that the discussions between the leaders of BRICS countries were “detailed, substantive and productive.”
The BRICS countries signed three pacts for the establishment of BRICS Agricultural Research Platform, Mutual cooperation between Diplomatic Academies and regulations on Customs Cooperation Committee of the BRICS. These pacts and myriad proposals outlined in the Goa Action Plan and Goa Joint Declaration are set to raise the global profile of the grouping and reinforce the movement from the declaratory phase to concrete action on the ground.
Focus on Terrorism
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.
“We were unanimous in recognizing the threat that terrorism, extremism and radicalization presents, not just to the regional and global peace, stability and economic prosperity. But, also to our society, our way of life and humanity as a whole,” said Mr Modi, who had earlier evocatively termed Pakistan as the “mother-ship of terrorism in the region.”
“We were also one in agreeing that BRICS need to work together and act decisively to combat this threat,” said Mr Modi.
“We also agreed that those who nurture, shelter, support and sponsor such forces of violence and terror are as much a threat to us as the terrorists themselves. India is happy to note the unity of thought and purpose on this serious global challenge.”
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 Declaration includes five paragraphs focused on terrorism, indicating that counter-terror cooperation will acquire greater salience in the BRICS agenda in years to come.
The Way Ahead
Reviving global economic growth and remapping the global governance architecture also got required attention and impetus at the Goa summit. In a boost for India, the Goa Declaration establishes a linkage between implementation of the Paris accord and access to nuclear energy. 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.
- Manish Chand is Founder-CEO and Editor-in-Chief of India Writes Network (www.indiawrites.org) and India and World, a pioneering magazine focused on international affairs. He is CEO/Director of TGII Media Private Limited, an India-based media, publishing, research and consultancy company.
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