BRICS expansion plans face resistance from India and Brazil

In this post:

  • China is facing obstruction in its plans to increase the size of the BRICS membership.
  • Proposed measures to mitigate concerns and shape the association’s future.

India and Brazil, as BRICS member states, are obstructing China’s ambitions to swiftly expand the bloc, according to a recent report. Sources suggest that both nations have distinct reasons to express reservations about Beijing’s proposal to enhance the organization’s geopolitical influence, leading them to advocate for a more cautious approach to enlargement. Officials familiar with the discussions on the future composition of the BRICS bloc of developing economies revealed that India and Brazil have voiced their objections during preparatory talks for the upcoming summit in Johannesburg.

BRICS members to discuss expansion in its August summit

The summit, scheduled for August 22 – 24, will be a platform for the five nations to discuss the induction of new members. China has consistently advocated for expansion during these meetings, and candidates such as Indonesia and Saudi Arabia have been mentioned, with numerous other nations also expressing interest in joining. However, the sheer number of potential members has raised concerns in the West, fearing that the alliance might become a counterweight to the influence of the U.S. and the EU.

Brazil is particularly apprehensive about enlargement due to such worries, while India seeks to establish strict rules for the association of other countries without formally expanding BRICS. Both nations are pushing to discuss granting observer status to candidates at the summit, according to insiders. South Africa, as the hosting nation, supports considering different membership options but does not necessarily oppose expansion, as noted by officials.

China’s foreign ministry pointed out that adding more members to BRICS is the political consensus of the five countries. Russia, on the other hand, does not have a firm stance on expanding BRICS, according to Fyodor Lukyanov, head of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, which advises the Kremlin’s administration. While Russia is broadly in favor of expansion, it is not particularly enthusiastic and is likely to follow the lead of the other member states.

Proposed measures to mitigate concerns and shape the association’s future

Any decision on expansion at the August summit will require consensus among the current member states, who are meeting amid heightened tensions between Washington and Beijing, as well as ongoing geopolitical clashes with Russia over Western sanctions imposed for its invasion of Ukraine. Notably, South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that Russian President Vladimir Putin would not attend the meeting in person due to an indictment and an arrest warrant issued for him by the International Criminal Court (ICC) concerning the Ukraine war.

India’s opposition to China’s push for expansion has led to the drafting of admission rules, which will be discussed at the leaders’ summit next month, according to Indian officials. Meanwhile, Brazil is endeavoring to resist Chinese pressure to transform BRICS into an antagonistic body that challenges the G7. The country is proposing the establishment of “observer” and “partner country” categories for candidates that will precede full membership, as it seeks to avoid confrontation within the BRICS framework.

As the BRICS summit approaches, India and Brazil have expressed their concerns about China’s rapid expansion plans for the bloc. While China has been persistent in advocating for new members, the objections raised by India and Brazil have prompted discussions on admission rules and the consideration of observer status for potential candidates. The outcome of these deliberations will shape the future direction and dynamics of the BRICS alliance amidst the backdrop of heightened geopolitical tensions.

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