Brics to look at expansion as Russia proposes to add 10 partner countries – Business Standard

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After adding five full-time members, the BRICS grouping may see another expansion with Russia proposing to add 10 “partner countries”. India is yet to decide its stance on the proposal. 

While the modalities of engagement of partner countries are yet to be finalised, they are likely to participate in specific initiatives or projects and may not be involved in decision-making voting.

On January 1, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates joined BRICS, making it a 10-member bloc, while Argentina has pulled out of its plans to join the grouping.

“Russia wants to create a partner-country group. Each country has been asked to give a list of 10 countries out of the 33 countries that have applied to join BRICS. The common 10 countries may become the partner countries. That is the proposal. We have to take a call whether we are okay with that or not,” a government official said requesting anonymity.

Pakistan, Turkey, Thailand, Malaysia, Venezuela, Cuba, Nigeria, and Kenya are among the key countries keen to join BRICS. India is opposed to Pakistan joining BRICS as it fears bilateral issues will creep into the forum. Also, India believes the character of BRICS as a grouping of emerging market economies should be preserved.  

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A BRICS membership raises a country’s international profile, signalling its growing importance and influence in global affairs, say experts.

After the BRICS foreign ministers meeting last month at Nizhny Novgorod city, Russia, a joint statement noted that there was “considerable interest” of emerging markets and developing countries in joining BRICS. “They discussed the partner-country model in line with paragraph 92 of the Johannesburg II Declaration. They reviewed the progress on the relevant preparations to be reported to the BRICS Leaders by the XVI Summit in Kazan (in October),” the joint statement added.

At the Johannesburg declaration under South African presidency in 2023, BRICS countries tasked the foreign ministers to further develop the BRICS partner-country model, a list of prospective partner countries, and share a report before the Russian Summit.

Russia has made “developing modalities for interaction with BRICS partner-countries” one of its key priorities for the Kazan Summit.

The 2001 Goldman Sachs report popularised the acronym when discussing the return of BRIC countries as leaders of the global economy. The leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, and China countries first met informally on the margins of the G8 Outreach Summit in St Petersburg, Russia, in July 2006, which later led to the formalisation of the grouping in the same year. The first BRIC summit was held in Russia in June 2009. South Africa was invited to join BRICS in 2010, and attended the third BRICS summit, held in Sanya, China, in 2011.

First Published: Jun 30 2024 | 6:47 PM IST

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