BRICS Summit 2023: What is BRICS & its agenda this year?

23 Aug 2023  Read 6134 Views

Filled with pride, India received immense appreciation worldwide for the successful landing near the moon’s south pole which boosted India's sophisticated space program to the level of "space superpower." India has now became the first country to land a spacecraft near the moon’s south pole after Russia’s Luna 25 crashed.

In the BRICS Summit 2023, running parallel, PM Modi floated the BRICS space group after Chandrayaan-3's successful lunar landing.

This Summit scheduled from Aug 22nd to 24th in Johannesburg, South Africa has been receiving immense attention as leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa (BRICS) gathered under the host, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. 

All eyes were focused on these questions:

  • Whether India- China will address the Line of Actual Control (LAC) dispute? 
  • What impact would the decisions have on the G20 summit in Delhi which will be held in September 2023 & the expansion of BRICS?
  • Will Russian President Vladimir Putin attend the meeting? 

So, let’s discuss in this blog the answers to these questions, BRICS significance, priorities, controversies, and many more.

What is BRICS?

BRICS is an acronym for 5 emerging economies of the world; that is; 

  • Brazil

  • Russia

  • India

  • China

  • South Africa. 

The first four are the founding countries. The term BRIC was coined by Jim O’Neil, the then Chairman of Goldman Sachs in 2001. The first BRIC summit took place in 2009 in Yekaterinburg, Russia & in 2010, South Africa formally joined the association making it BRICS from BRIC.

In simple words, BRICS can be called a movement of “emerging economies”, which gives importance to economic issues. However, after the Russia- Ukraine war, the BRICS summit 2023 has taken on a new importance. Therefore, not surprisingly, many Western countries are watching the summit closely such as French President Emmanuel Macron even suggesting he would attend, “if invited” as France & Western Countries were not invited.

How many countries are interested in BRICS Summit 2023?

  • Notably, over 40 countries including Iran, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Argentina, Algeria, Bolivia, Indonesia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Cuba, Democratic Republic of Congo, Comoros, Gabon, and Kazakhstan have expressed interest in joining the 2023 Summit.

  • The reason behind their interest is that they view BRICS as an alternative to global bodies dominated by the traditional Western powers and hope membership will unlock benefits such as development, increased trade and investment etc.

Let's check out the answers for the main questions that popped out at BRICS Summit.

As per the recent development, BRICS invited Saudi Arabia & 5 other nations to join bloc, PM Modi congratulated new members. So, Bloc adds Saudi Arabia, Iran, Ethiopia, Egypt, Argentina and UAE.

India and China have agreed to step up efforts for the disengagement of troops and de-escalation of tensions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) after a conversation between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Vladimir Putin attended the BRICS virtually & mentioned that next year Russia will assume the BRICS chair and take various measures to strengthen multilateralism for global development and security.

Importance of BRICS Summit 2023

This BRICS meeting is being conducted at a crucial time. This is the first in-person summit since 2019 and the COVID pandemic. Even in 2022, the summit was hosted via videoconference in China. This is also the first in-person meeting since the Russia- Ukraine war in 2022 which highly impacted global stability, but food, fertilizer and fuel (energy) security. 

The heads of India, China, and Brazil plus Russia's top diplomat will gather for this 15th BRICS Summit. PM Modi posted on X (previously, Twitter), 

"Leaving for South Africa to take part in the BRICS Summit being held in Johannesburg. I will also take part in the BRICS-Africa Outreach and BRICS Plus Dialogue events. The Summit will give the platform to discuss issues of concern for the Global South and other areas of development."

Priorities set for BRICS Summit 2023

Several priorities have been listed for the BRICS Summit 2023:

“1) Developing a partnership towards an equitable just transition. 

2) Transforming education and skills development for the future.

3) Unlocking opportunities through the African Continental Free Trade Area. 

4) Strengthening post-pandemic socio-economic recovery and the attainment of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development. 

5) Strengthening multilateralism, including working towards real reform of global governance institutions and strengthening the meaningful participation of women in peace processes.”

Key issues in BRICS Summit 2023

  • The biggest issue to be discussed is the expansion of the grouping. China is seeking to expand its influence as it tussles with the United States over trade and geopolitics and supports BRICS expansion.

  • Russia, which has been isolated due to the war with Ukraine, is also supporting the expansion, and so is South Africa. India remains undecided and non-committal while Brazil is highly skeptical of any new inclusion in the BRICS. 

  • With the expansion as the first priority, the members are expected to jot down the admission criteria for the new joiners. Since the grouping is aimed to bring together emerging economies that seem to dominate the world economy by 2050, it remains to be seen if the expansion can be done.

  • Apart from new admissions, BRICS will engage with business during the BRICS Business Forum with the New Development Bank, BRICS Business Council and other mechanisms during the summit. 

  • South Africa will also continue to reach the leaders from Africa & the global South. It will also hold a BRICS outreach and BRICS plus dialogue during the summit. 

Controversies around BRICS Summit 

South Africa's left-wing opposition party calls on China, India, and Brazil leaders to skip the summit in support of Russia's absent Putin. 

It quoted "We call on the president of the People's Republic of China, India and Brazil not to come to (the) BRICS summit in solidarity with President Putin."

Competitive Exam Questions on BRICS

1. When and where was the first BRICS Summit held?

Answer: The first BRICS Summit was held on June 16, 2009, in Yekaterinburg, Russia.

2. Which BRICS Summit marked the official inclusion of South Africa into the group?

Answer: The third BRICS Summit, held in Sanya, China, in 2011, marked the official inclusion of South Africa into the BRICS group.

3. What is the primary forum for leaders of BRICS countries to meet and discuss global issues?

Answer: BRICS is the primary forum where leaders of member countries meet to discuss various global issues & cooperation initiatives.

4. Which BRICS Summit adopted the "Fortaleza Declaration" and established the New Development Bank (NDB)?

Answer: The sixth BRICS Summit, held in Fortaleza, Brazil, in 2014, adopted the "Fortaleza Declaration" and established the New Development Bank (NDB).

5. Where is the BRICS Summit 2023 held?

Answer: The BRICS Summit 2023 scheduled from Aug 22nd to 24th is being held in Johannesburg, South Africa.

About the Author: Kakoli Nath | 275 Post(s)

She is a Legal Content Manager at Finology Legal! With a Masters in Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), a BBA.LL.B from ITM University, and patent analyst training from IIPTA, she truly specializes in her field. Her passion for IPR and Criminal laws is evident from her advanced certification in Forensic Psychology and Criminal Profiling from IFS, Pune.

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