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BRICS Summit: Balancing Expansion and Unity Amid Internal Divides

 BRICS Summit: Balancing Expansion and Unity Amid Internal Divides

BRICS Summit: Balancing Expansion and Unity Amid Internal Divides
BRICS Summit: Balancing Expansion and Unity Amid Internal Divides(Image-Twitter)

During the BRICS summit held in Johannesburg, leaders from member countries were deliberating over the establishment of rules for the admission of new members into the alliance of developing nations. This discussion occurred amidst internal divisions that had the potential to undermine the group's overarching goal of enhancing the influence of the "Global South" on the international stage.

Prominent members within the alliance, notably China and Russia, both represented by their leaders and virtually by President Vladimir Putin due to ongoing tensions like the Ukraine conflict and China's rivalry with the United States, aimed to strengthen the BRICS coalition. Their intention was to utilize the summit from August 22nd to 24th as an opportunity to consolidate the collaboration among the member nations: China, Russia, Brazil, India, and South Africa. By doing so, they intended to create a counterbalance to Western powers.

However, existing disparities among the member nations resurfaced on the initial day of discussions. President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil articulated reservations about the alliance attempting to compete directly with the United States and the affluent economies of the Group of Seven (G7). The first day of talks also witnessed a dinner and a brief retreat attended by Lula, Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, Chinese President Xi Jinping, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The pivotal issue of expanding the BRICS alliance was the primary focus of the summit and brought to light varying perspectives that have historically challenged the cohesion of the alliance. While China and Russia aimed to enlarge BRICS to augment its global influence, South African President Ramaphosa articulated a viewpoint that aligned with China's stance.

On the other hand, Brazil expressed concerns that the expansion of BRICS could potentially diminish its influence within the alliance. Nonetheless, Brazil indicated its interest in welcoming Argentina as a fellow member. Meanwhile, Indian Prime Minister Modi expressed a willingness to explore expansion but underscored the importance of establishing clear guidelines for the process and defining the eligible participants.

Although no immediate additions to BRICS were anticipated during the summit, leaders were deliberating on a framework and criteria for potential new entrants. These details were anticipated to be included in a collective declaration that was scheduled to be finalized on the concluding day of the summit.

BRICS persisted as a collection of diverse countries with varying economic statures, ranging from South Africa, a relatively smaller economy but one of the most developed in Africa, to China, one of the world's largest economies.

Russian President Putin, who was facing an international arrest warrant concerning alleged war crimes related to the Ukraine conflict, sought to showcase his diplomatic connections with the West. In contrast, India, cautious about China's dominance, had increasingly sought closer ties with Western nations. Similarly, under Lula's leadership, Brazil had also leaned towards cooperation with Western powers.

In addition to the matter of expansion, the summit's agenda also encompassed efforts to promote the use of local currencies from member nations in trade and financial transactions, thereby reducing reliance on the U.S. dollar. However, discussions concerning the adoption of a common currency within BRICS, an idea proposed by Brazil as an alternative to dollar dependency, were not on the table as indicated by South African organizers.

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