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Millennium Post

Forging alliance for global South

House of BRICS is, second to the European Union, easily the most formidable economic and political integration zone that not only puts the Global South on the map, but in fact, attempts to wrench a sizeable chunk of financial and ecopolitical control from the West. The BRICS summit dated 15-16 July is exactly the platform that PM Narendra Modi needs to foster relations outside the subcontinent, and explore multilateral ties outside SAARC. The newly-elected Indian prime minister’s presence is likely to be the highlight of the summit in Brazil (in Fortaleza and the capital Brasilia), which is recuperating after a crash-and-burn exit from the FIFA World Cup 2014 at the semifinal level. Soccer heartbreak notwithstanding, Brazil, along with Russia, India, China and South Africa, the five members of this redoubtable internationalist bloc, have a lot on their plate, which they must sort out in the two-day conference. Widely expected to achieve a number of diplomatic coups – namely agree on the mutual conditions to set up the BRICS New Development Bank (at par with World Bank, International Monetary Fund and Asian Development Bank, but with greater North-South correspondence), as well as clear or move ahead in consolidating contingent reserves worth over $100 billion dollars that the proposed bank would make allowance for and facilitate infrastructure projects in these regions. In addition, consensus over the headquarters of the proposed BRICS Bank has to be arrived at, potentially New Delhi or Shanghai, a testimony to the growing say of the Asian tigers in the reconfigured world economy and market. Moreover, thorny issues like India-China security concerns, share in development of Afghanistan in terms of infrastructure, defence requisites and foreign policy, as well as sprucing up greater economic, cultural and political integration between Asia and Latin America would be debated and discussed in the summit.

      With leaders like Modi, Putin, Xi, Rousseff and Zuma at the helm in the respective countries, BRICS has the potential to not only overshoot the largely sagging European Union as the biggest economic zone, it is also in line to give tough competition to the United States, whether in terms of diplomatic diktat, or in matters of imposing unsustainable and thoroughly illegal sanctions on smaller countries that stand up to US-led Western domination. BRICS represents 42 per cent of world population and about a quarter of world economy at present, thereby becoming the catalyst to ease out the flagging finances from the current slump. The last BRICS summit in Durban had proposed the idea of a BRICS bank, as an antidote to the routine biases of WB, IMF and the Wall Street-dominated financial circuits of the world. Intergovernmental agreement amongst the BRICS members is therefore the safety net that the world really needs at this moment to strengthen international relations in a meaningful manner.               

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