India, a prominent member of the BRICS alliance, has emphatically voiced its opposition to Pakistan joining the group. This development has added another layer of complexity to the already intricate geopolitical landscape. The history of India and Pakistan, mired in decades of conflict since the 1947 partition, casts a long shadow over this decision. India’s firm stance is rooted in concerns about Pakistan’s alleged support for cross-border terrorism, a charge that Islamabad has consistently denied but which remains a thorn in the side of bilateral relations.
India’s Unyielding Position
India is not just sitting on the fence but is actively working to block Pakistan’s entry into BRICS. It’s no secret that the Indian government is pulling all the stops to ensure Pakistan remains outside the BRICS fold. Anonymously, a senior Indian government official made it clear: India will reject Pakistan’s bid to join BRICS. The rationale? BRICS is an assembly of emerging market economies, not a gathering of ‘all and sundry’. This statement reflects India’s determination to maintain the integrity of the group’s economic focus, implicitly suggesting that Pakistan’s addition might dilute this essence.
The Indian official did not mince words about Pakistan’s potential contribution, or lack thereof, to the BRICS alliance. According to him, Pakistan would bring more political baggage than economic value. He pointed out that while BRICS forums traditionally do not delve into bilateral issues, Pakistan’s entry could inadvertently introduce unwanted political dynamics. The decision to add new members to BRICS is a consensus-driven process, and India is confident in its ability to influence this decision to its advantage.
The Ripple Effects on International Relations
India’s maneuvering within BRICS is part of a larger narrative of its global economic strategy. Recently, India spearheaded an initiative to have 22 countries accept the Rupee for international trade, in a bold move to reduce dependency on the US dollar. However, the realpolitik of international finance is proving to be a tough nut to crack. The majority of these countries, from various regions including Asia, Africa, and Latin America, are now showing reluctance to keep the Rupee as reserves. This hesitance stems from the Rupee’s declining stature against the US dollar, raising questions about its viability as a reserve currency.
This setback for India was further underscored by a recent development with Russia, a fellow BRICS member. Russia paused oil trade with India due to payment issues, specifically India’s reluctance to use the Chinese Yuan for settlements. Russia’s insistence on receiving payments in either the US dollar, the Chinese Yuan, or a mix of both puts India in a tight spot, especially given its aversion to using the Chinese currency. This impasse has led to a halt in crude oil shipments, signaling a potential crack in the BRICS facade of unity.
The Indian government’s suggestion to settle payments in UAE’s Dirhams instead of the Yuan has not found favor with Russia. This standoff highlights the complexities of international trade negotiations and currency dynamics, especially within a bloc like BRICS that aims to challenge the traditional economic order dominated by Western currencies.
In sum, the saga of Pakistan’s BRICS membership bid, entangled with India’s resolute opposition, is more than just a bilateral squabble. It reflects the intricate interplay of regional politics, global economic ambitions, and the shifting sands of international alliances. As BRICS continues to evolve as a significant player on the world stage, the dynamics within the group will be keenly watched, not just for their economic implications but also for their geopolitical reverberations.