JOHANNESBURG: A new expanded BRICS XI was born in Johannesburg on a crisp wintry morning as the leaders of BRICS nations announced their collective decision to enlarge the grouping by adding six new members.
Six new members, which have been added to BRICS include Argentina, Egypt, Iran, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
The selection of new members came after intense negotiations for the past few days and reflects regional balance in the expanded grouping, said well-placed officials.
Fully backing the expansion of the grouping, Prime Minister Narendra Modi underlined that the addition of new members will further add dynamism the grouping. “We have taken important decision to expand BRICS. This will further strengthen the beliefs of many countries in this multipolar world. I am happy that our teams have agreed on the guiding principles, standards, criteria, and procedures for the expansion of BRICS,” PM Modi said while addressing a press meet.
He added: “I am confident that we would be able to give new dynamism to BRICS by working with the new member countries of the grouping. India has had very deep and historic relations with all these countries.”
The expanded BRICS grouping, which will come into being after the formal induction of new members on January 1, 2024, can emerge as a challenger to G7 and a champion of the Global South.
Indonesia was a surprise omission, as it was a top contender to join BRICS. Indonesia was not excluded as it met all criteria, but Jakarta conveyed that it is not ready to join BRICS yet.
The expansion of the grouping is marked by the strategic intention to provide greater prominence to the Global South in the BRICS agenda. “We appreciate the considerable interest shown by countries of the global South in membership of BRICS,” said the Johannesburg Declaration.
The Johannesburg Declaration also underlined that “true to the BRICS Spirit and commitment to inclusive multilateralism, BRICS countries reached consensus on the guiding principles, standards, criteria and procedures of the BRICS expansion process.”
Official sources told this writer that it is not the end of the expansion of BRICS, but the next phase of expansion will see the induction of partner countries. “We have also tasked our Foreign Ministers to further develop the BRICS partner country model and a list of prospective partner countries and report by the next Summit,” said the Johannesburg Declaration
- 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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