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14th BRICS summit: Why US ‘ally’ India has a major challenge in bloc featuring Russia, China

China’s President Xi Jinping (L), Russia’s President Vladimir Putin (2nd L), Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro (C), India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi (2nd R), and South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa (R) attend to a meeting with members of the Business Council and management of the New Development Bank during the BRICS Summit in Brasilia, November 14, 2019. (Photo by Pavel Golovkin / POOL / AFP) (Photo by PAVEL GOLOVKIN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

WHILE India is a key member of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) forum, it also faced a big challenge in the bloc as it has two major anti-US forces in its ranks, namely, Russia and China. Since New Delhi has gone closer to Washington in recent years, more particularly in the times of prime minister Narendra Modi, it now has the task cut out to see that the BRICS platform doesn’t turn out into a major anti-US one.

The 14th summit of the BRICS is set to take place in Beijing on Thursday (23) and India is expected to push back against a likely effort by Chinese president Xi Jinping to use the event to highlight his efforts to build a world order which is not led by the US, Bloomberg reported citing informed officials.

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The virtual event will see the presence of, besides Xi and Modi, Russian president Vladimir Putin, Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro and South African prime minister Cyril Ramaphosa.

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India will try to ensure that any joint statement that comes out of the summit is neutral and prevent attempts by China and Russia to use the platform to announce propaganda victory over the US and its allies, the officials told the news website. New Delhi will also reportedly try to delay China’s effort to expand the bloc by pushing it to decide on criteria to bring in new members, they added.

“BRICS has become a platform for discussing and deliberating on issues of common concern for all developing countries,” India’s ministry of external affairs said in a statement on Tuesday. The heads of state will discuss “intra-BRICS cooperation in areas such as counter-terrorism, trade, health, traditional medicine, environment,” tackling the pandemic and reform of multilateral institutions among others, it added.

The summit will offer the Chinese and Russian leaderships a vehicle to expand their global vision after Xi and Putin declared a “no-limits friendship” just weeks before Russia invaded Ukraine.

Beijing has given Moscow crucial diplomatic support as the latter broadly pushes back against American sanctions and seeks to redefine terms such as democracy and human rights.

Brazil, Russia, India and China formed the bloc in 2009 with South Africa joining the following year.

The latest summit will be held in virtual format under the theme of ‘Foster High-Quality BRICS Partnership, Usher in a New Era for Global Development’.

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