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Bloc lays path to prosperity

By XU WEIWEI in Hong Kong | China Daily | Updated: 2022-06-15 09:18

Photo taken on Sept 8, 2021 shows models of jets during an exhibition on BRICS New Industrial Revolution held in Xiamen, Southeast China's Fujian province. [Photo/Xinhua]

BRICS Summit to ensure sustainable development and security, experts say

BRICS, a vanguard for emerging and developing economies in the volatile world order, has the potential to herald a new era in common development, experts say.

The BRICS bloc, which comprises major emerging economies Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, fosters consensus on how to address global challenges from climate change and poverty to pandemics and conflict.

The 14th BRICS Summit, to be held later this month, carries the theme "Foster High-quality BRICS Partnership, Usher in a New Era for Global Development".

"It's clear from the theme that BRICS is not a geopolitical forum," said professor Karori Singh, emeritus fellow and former director of the South Asia Studies Centre at India's University of Rajasthan. "Its main focus is on common global development to serve the interest of all countries."

He said BRICS forums have immense potential in helping liquidate the "containment mindset" of some countries as well as their efforts to form geopolitical blocs that jeopardize global security and development.

"The BRICS Summit 2022 will come up with meaningful initiatives to ensure sustainable common development and foolproof global security," Singh said, adding that the summit has emerged as a "potent force in heralding the balance of global governance, development and security in favor of the interests of the Global South, which was hitherto deprived, by initiating cooperation mechanisms at the United Nations, World Trade Organization and the G20 Summit".

Ashraf Patel, development and public policy researcher at the Institute for Global Dialogue, South Africa, said that in the post-pandemic era, where the model of G7 neoliberal capitalism is increasingly being called into question, BRICS offerings such as the developmental state model of some emerging economies should be further explored, especially in terms of COVID-19 vaccines, food security and job creation.

"We have high expectations and confidence that BRICS leaders will shape the agenda at the UN, G20, WTO and World Health Organization for sustainable development," he said.

Swaran Singh, a professor of diplomacy and disarmament at Jawaharlal Nehru University, India, also noted the growing roles of institutions such as the New Development Bank and the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Moreover, he said, BRICS members are beginning to discuss expanding the bloc, which would further accelerate its development.

James Chin, a professor of Asian studies at the University of Tasmania, Australia, said it is widely understood that China wants to take BRICS to the next level, and that the country believes the bloc will grow in influence as membership expands.

Influential group

Singh said he sees the collective fast emerging as an influential group in global agenda-setting, as countries work to grow their economies quickly post-pandemic.

Li Wei, a lecturer at the University of Sydney Business School, said BRICS nations have become distinct because "they achieve growth and alleviate problems by continuously implementing economic reforms and pursuing marketization".

BRICS is creating new models and pathways for developing countries to follow in dealing with major challenges, in addition to the traditional Western models, she said.

Li added that she looks forward to the upcoming summit sending a strong message on continuous globalization and collaboration, as well as countries focusing more on sustainable opportunities.

Chin noted that this summit will be unusual in that it brings together the key BRICS leaders for the first time since the Russia-Ukraine crisis, "so it'll be interesting to see how they deal with the issue".

He said he expects to see discussion on the global financial system in response to the US sanctions placed on Russia in the wake of the conflict.

"The question is how you set up a parallel payment system internationally," Chin said. "China has tried to set one up. My understanding is it's still at the infancy stage.…They've applied it to a lot of payments from Russia because of the US sanctions. We'll have to see for something like this to work to challenge the US dollar thing."

However, this cannot be done simply by BRICS members, he said. "It has to be a lot bigger, where at least half the world's countries adopt the standard."

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