Six more nations have been asked to join the BRICS group of countries, which has promised to support the "Global South". At the three-day meeting in Johannesburg, the discussion about the growth of BRICS - Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa - took centre stage. Although all BRICS nations have openly stated their support for the five-nation bloc's expansion, reports have suggested disagreements among the presidents over how quickly and by how much.
South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa, the current chair of the BRICS grouping, said that Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and UAE have been invited to join the BRICS as part of the first phase of expansion. The new membership will be effective from January 1, 2024.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Ramaphosa for the successful summit and said India has always fully supported the expansion of BRICS membership.
Brics will break barriers, revitalise economies: PM
India fully supports the expansion of the BRICS membership and welcomes moving forward with consensus in this,” said PM Narendra Modi, adding that BRICS will be breaking barriers, revitalising economies, inspiring innovation, creating opportunities, and shaping the future. South Africa said after the second day of the summit, the leaders agreed to a document which “set out guidelines and principles, processes for considering countries that wish to become members of BRICS”.
In a time of enormous global uncertainty, many developing nations are looking to BRICS with newfound optimism. Twenty three countries have formally applied to join the organisation. President Xi said in his speech that hastening the process of membership expansion will result in more just and equitable global governance. India, however, insisted that BRICS first agree the standards and principles for expanding membership, which was the summit's main topic.
Modi, Xi agree on speedy de-escalation in Ladakh
Because of the unresolved military standoff in eastern Ladakh, Sino-Indian relations remain in a deep freeze. In a "conversation" with President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the Brics summit and before the G20 leaders' meeting, PM Modi stressed the importance of maintaining peace and tranquilly in border areas and respect for the LAC. Foreign secretary Vinay Kwatra did not call it a bilateral meeting but said the conversation, which took place, captured the sense of the relationship as the PM highlighted India’s concerns over the “unresolved issues” along the LAC and both leaders agreed to work towards early disengagement and deescalation.
Last year's Bali G20 conference also featured speeches from Modi and Xi, who last met in person in November 2019. However, while they had concurred in Bali that it was critical to strengthen ties, the PM Modi went a step further on this occasion and repeated India's position that for relations to return to normal, there must be peace at the border.