Will BRICS counterweight G7?

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The BRICS membership is becoming the most sought-after diplomatic bloc, especially for Global South nations as several countries including Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Argentina, Cuba, Nigeria, Venezuela, Thailand and Vietnam have shown their interest to join the group.

The most pressing issue at the BRICS summit to be held from August 22-24 would be to decide on expanding the membership which is centred on Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. According to South Africa which will be hosting BRICS summit this year so far 22 countries had formally asked to join while an equal number of countries that have informally expressed interest in becoming BRICS members … (including) all the major global south countries.

So why the BRICS is so much alluring to the world? The BRICS is becoming very attractive for the global South nations as it will not only provide lucrative trade and investment opportunities but also enhance their diplomatic influence and stature.

One of the most important reasons is that it is not only seen as a very worthy competitor to G7 which only comprises of the developed nations but BRICS is ready to accommodate the nations of Global South.

Also economic opportunities offered by BRICS are tremendous. World’s largest online informational platforms in terms of views, the India-based Megh Updates has stated that BRICS nations have officially overtaken G7 in share of world PPP GDP, and that this trend can be expected to continue.
Even though many critics do not give much weightage to the PPP GDP as a strong indicator of economic well-being nevertheless the economic progress of China and India has surprised the world, which are the two very important members of the BRICS.

The BRICS comparison with the G7 is becoming inevitable in the present context even as the Western nations remain wary of it. As the Ukraine war rages none of the BRICS members have imposed any sanctions on Russia much to the discomfiture of Western nations.

Here it is very important to note that BRICS five now contribute 31.5% of global GDP, while the G7 which comprises of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States, as well as the European Union shares has fallen to 30%. The BRICS nation aim to increase their global GDP share to 50 percent by 2030, which seems very possible as this bloc starts the proposed enlargement.

The expansion of New Development Bank started by BRICS members also gives an insight into how the alliance is seeking to become a counterweight to western dominated World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Several countries including Bangladesh, Egypt, UAE and Uruguay have joined BRICS New Development Bank with many other nations also poised to do the same.

The BRICS nations launched the New Development Bank in 2014 with $50 billion (around €46 billion) in seed money. In addition, they created a liquidity mechanism called the Contingent Reserve Arrangement to support members struggling with payments.

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Further, IMF’s structural adjustment programs and austerity measures have a painful experience for many countries as a result many developing and emerging economies are seeing a very credible alternative in the form of New Development Bank. So it is no surprise that more and more nations are showing their interest in joining the BRICS group.

Despite the BRICS moving fast the biggest impediment has been the rivalry between India and China. Russia and China wants quick expansion of the group as a measure to strengthen their influence in important developing countries. India meanwhile is cautious that new members closely aligned with China’s agenda will dilute its influence over the group so it is against the expansion that has been done quickly. India has proposed to discuss and agree on the criteria for membership—as an item on the August summit agenda—before admitting new members.

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