The BRICS SUMMIT 2022 can subvert the paradigm of global narratives. If the member countries, especially the Brobdingnags -Russia, India and China (RIC)- show cohesion. Many Western analysts portray BRICS as a glorified PR attempt for participating countries. The evolving BRICS cross-border payment mechanisms- an alternative to the SWIFT global banking network may impinge them. To give this some milieu, the share of the US dollar in the Russia–China bilateral trade settlement fell from nearly 90 per cent in 2015 to 46 per cent in 2020 (Reference SimesSimes, 2020).
The BRICS countries are home to 41.5 per cent of the world population. Thus, they have a more significant responsibility to re-establish peace and order. The BRICS Brobdingnags -Russia, India and China – are facing challenges. Russia and China are facing challenges from the western world. But, India is facing hostility from the BRICS member state – China. For sure divided BRICS, mainly divided RIC suits many but not all the BRICS member countries and the world. Although sorting differences with the western world may take time for Russia and China, prolonging differences among the BRICS member States – China and India–can be catastrophic.
Two years into the military standoff along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh, China and India should take steps to revive bilateral dialogue and set the stage for the BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa) summit in China later this year. As a host of the BRICS summit, China shouldn't hesitate to take the first step towards the revival of bilateral relations with India. In fact, the Doklam border standoff was solved after two-and-half months, just before the BRICS summit 2017. And Indian Prime Minister attended the BRICS summit in Xiamen in September 2017.
Completing seventy years, the India-China border issue has become one of the most prolonged border disputes of the world. But now, nibbling and open wounds are on the verge to cause cancer on both sides.
For more than 3,000 years, China and India accounted for 50 per cent of the world's economic output. However, then the Industrial Revolution gave North America and Europe 150 golden years. At the beginning of post covid era, BRICS, especially India-China, is at a historical deflection point which may lead both to either belle epoque or dark age.
यथा चतुर्भि: कनकं परीक्ष्यते निकर्षणछेदनतापताडनै:।
तथा चतुर्भि: पुरुष: परीक्ष्यते श्रुतेन शीलेन कुलेन कर्मणा॥
As per the above Sanskrit quote, "Just as the purity of gold is tested by four means, namely, rubbing, cutting, burning and beating. Man or relationship is tested by four means, namely, learning, conduct, pedigree and action". Will India-China act to resolve the dispute or stay oblivious to the changing world – scenario causing further rubbing in the bilateral relationship?
The world, especially western analysts, is busy depicting how many differences BRICS member countries have with each other. The art of propaganda is used to deflect domestic audiences, political opponents and diplomatic compulsions by sensationalising third world (as per them) countries' differences.
The world, especially western analysts, is busy depicting how many differences BRICS member countries have with each other. The art of propaganda is used to deflect domestic audiences, political opponents and diplomatic compulsions by sensationalising third world (as per them) countries' differences
Yet largely devoted to economic issues, the BRICs began to assume a political identity at Yekaterinburg. In their summit statement, the leaders urged for a "more democratic and just multipolar world order based on the rule of international law, equality, mutual respect, cooperation, coordinated action and collective decision-making of all states". 2008 summit declaration seems apt and very relevant for today's world.
Further, BRICS leaders called for a "comprehensive reform of the UN" to make it more democratic and efficient. Neither then nor later did Russia and China, the two permanent affiliates of the UN Security Council, ever render this vague support into explicit backing. UN reform is the need of the hour. Russia and China should act to initiate this reform.
'The Political economy of De-dollarisation'
BRICS's significant achievements have been in financial cooperation, as evidenced by establishing the New Development Bank (NDB), the Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA), and several other financial synchronisation instruments. Despite the breadth of the BRICS countries, financial cooperation is increasing.
The NDB's pledge to use local currency finance rather than solely relying on the US dollar is the tip of the iceberg of BRICS' de-dollarization initiatives. The growing tension between the US and Russia-China has accelerated the de-dollarisation process. US' prolonged confrontation with Russia and China may convert "the de-dollarisation process" from a temporary change to a paradigm shift in global finance. To give this some context, Saudi Arabia is discussing with China to price some of its oil sales to China in yuan. China purchases more than 25% of the oil that Saudi Arabia exports.
Chinese envoy thanks PM Modi for his prayers after plane crashes in China
Chinese Ambassador to India, Sun Weidong thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for offering prayers and sympathy over the passenger plane crash in China's Guangxi on March 21.
Taking to Twitter, the Chinese envoy said: "Thanks to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Indian friends for your prayers and sympathy for the loss in the air crash. Chinese President Xi Jinping has ordered all-out search & rescue efforts & proper settlement of the aftermath. Mourn for the victims, deep condolences to their families." PM Modi expressed grief over the passenger plane crash in China.
"Deeply shocked and saddened to learn about the crash of the passenger flight MU5735 with 132 onboard in China's Guangxi. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of the crash and their family members," he tweeted.
A China Eastern Airlines plane with 132 people on board crashed in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region today, causing a forest fire, Sputnik reported citing China Central Television (CCTV). According to CCTV, the search and rescue operations are underway, the Russian News Agency reported.
Chinese Government official mouthpiece Global Times also took note of the conversation between PM Modi and Sun Weidong.
Similarly, India is stepping closer to setting up an alternative payments system to maintain its trade with Russia. Further, the share of the US dollar in Russia–China bilateral trade settlement fell from nearly 90 % in 2015 to 46 per cent in 2020 (Reference SimesSimes, 2020). Likewise, Russia and China have launched their cross-border payment mechanisms as alternatives to the US-dominated Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) network. BRICS has also conceptualised a standard BRICS Pay system for retail payments and transactions among member countries, enabled by rapid progress in the financial technology (fintech) sector.
In conclusion, I would say “远亲不如近邻” – that is "a relative afar is less useful than a close neighbour." Thus, BRICS, and especially RIC (Russia, India and China), should follow the motto "Postera crescam laude" (meaning "grow in the esteem of future generations"). As Chanakya said :
क: काल: कानि मित्राणि को देश: कौ व्ययागमौ।
कश्चाहं का च मे शक्तिरिति चिन्त्यं मुहुमुर्हु:॥
(Consider again and again the following: the right time, the right friends, the right place, the right means of income, the right ways of spending, and from whom you derive your power.)