Discuss the significance of the BRICS grouping for India. What are the present-day challenges concerning BRICS that need to be addressed?
(GS-2, International Relations, 250 words)


  • Introduce your answer by elaborating on BRICS.
  • In the body, mention the significance of the BRICS grouping for India and present-day challenges concerning BRICS that need to be addressed.
  • Conclude your answer appropriately.


Model Answer:

BRICS is a grouping consisting of the world’s fastest-growing economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. Today BRICS nations represent 42% of the world’s population, 23% of global GDP, and around 18% of world trade. Since its inception, the group has stood for its commitment to an equitable multipolar world, reforming the global governance system to make it more inclusive and representative, economic decentralisation and support for a rules-based multilateral trading system.


Significance of BRICS grouping for India:

  • Cooperation on current issues: India attaches high importance to engagement with BRICS as a platform for coordination, consultation and cooperation on current issues. India’s engagement with BRICS countries may be seen in the context of our proactive and broad-based international engagement to contribute towards building a peaceful and prosperous world.
  • Geo-Politics: Global geopolitics today represents the case of a tug of war. In this scenario, India finds it difficult to carve a middle path for balancing its strategic interests between the US and the Russia-China axis. Therefore, the BRICS platform provides an opportunity for India to balance the Russia-China axis.
  • Increasing global influence: BRICS provides India with an opportunity to increase its global influence, which allows it to be more influential in world affairs BRICS also offers India the opportunity to increase its economic and political clout through participation in the New Development Bank and the Contingent Reserve Arrangement, which can be seen as an alternative to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
  • Engaging on issues such as terrorism: The BRICS platform offers India an opportunity to strengthen its efforts against terrorism. India has utilised this platform to take a firm stance against terrorism and engage in focused discussions on specific aspects related to terrorism.
  • Voice of the global south: Developing countries are struggling to cope with the challenges posed by Western countries on issues such as the World Trade Organisation and climate change. Such policies have a significant impact on these countries. For India, the BRICS platform is also a means of establishing its larger efforts to represent the Global South.
  • Platform for actively engaging with China: India has been actively pursuing the membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). However, China forms a major roadblock in pursuing these goals. BRICS provides a platform for India to actively engage with China and resolve mutual disputes.


Present-day challenges concerning BRICS that need to be addressed:  

  • China-centric bloc: China has been trying since 2017 to expand the group by including other countries to constitute a BRICS Plus framework. Its main motivation seems to be the transformation of BRICS into a China-centric bloc and entrapping the new members with loans under its Belt and Road Initiative.
  • Absence of common interest: Many experts criticise the grouping for the absence of common interest and collective multilateral strategy and their ‘own ways of existing and doing things’. There are also various fundamental differences between the individual BRICS countries on the political, economic, military and demographic levels regarding their global ambitions.
  • Anti-west stance: The growing East-West confrontation in recent years particularly between the US and China on trade and technology issues, and between the West and Russia on account of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, has energised China and Russia to expand the BRICS grouping and move it in a pronouncedly anti-Western corner. India is not keen to rush headlong into an expansion of the grouping as this is designed to increase China’s influence.
  • Issues with BRICS institutions: Another challenge which impedes the development of the BRICS as a potent force lies in the institutions it has created- such as that of the New Development Bank (NDB). The NDB, as opposed to the World Bank, or the African Development Bank, is opaque, and it is impossible to access information on its operational policies. It is also unclear on questions of accountability.
  • Changing global order: The ongoing churn in the world order has also raised concerns about future policy directions of BRICS member states and its eventual impact on the organisation as a whole. If the US-China rivalry intensifies, the already complex dynamics between India and China, India’s balancing act with the US, the growing Russia-China linkages, and Russia-US tensions raise the prospects of an ‘internal split.’


Given the present challenges as well as opportunities, the future of BRICS depends on the adjustment of the internal and external issues of India, China and Russia. In this context, the forthcoming summit in South Africa is likely to be the most consequential as far as the future of the organisation is concerned. The decisions taken at the summit will determine the future trajectory of the grouping and the role it will play in global strategic and economic development.