October 17, 2016BRICSforeign policyG-20international relationsmultilateralism

Time to abandon BRICS

**New Delhi must not waste further energy on a forum that lacks any common basis.

This is an archived blog post from The Acorn.

Russia needs international platforms to show that the West’s attempts to isolate it are not too successful. So it finds BRICS very useful.

China needs international platforms where it is not challenged by norms its rulers dislike. So it finds BRICS useful.

It is unclear what is in it for Brazil, South Africa and for India.

States come together to form international associations out of common interests, common values, common geography or common necessity. BRICS is perhaps the only international forum to come together because, at a certain point in time, all of its members enjoyed similar rates of economic growth. Even if that were a sensible basis for association, rates of growth have changed since then. And they will continue to change. One of the mysteries of contemporary international relations — and common sense — is why did anyone think that a group of big non-Western countries enjoying similar rates of growth will have common cause.

Now, because BRICS exists and its summit brings together the leaders of the member countries, it is just as well that New Delhi used the opportunity to raise its concerns over Pakistan-sponsored terrorism. The response from the other members, though, shows that an outfit that lacks common interests and values will not be sensitive to India’s interests. Even so, it is just as well that New Delhi exposed the position China and Russia have towards international terrorism, so that there need be no illusions. Perhaps now, members of New Delhi’s foreign policy establishment will realise that when it comes to terrorism directed against India, India has more in common with the United States than with China, Russia and others.

BRICS, like SAARC, is a waste of India’s diplomatic time, energy and resources. Instead of wasting further resources, New Delhi would do well to invest in the G-20 and turn that representative forum into this century’s high table of global governance.

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