BRICS Summit 2018: From trade wars to increasing India’s footprint, Narendra Modi has his plate full in Johannesburg


The 10th edition of the BRICS Summit will take place in Johannesburg on Thursday with Prime Minister Narendra Modi attending it to culminate his three-leg Africa tour. Modi will be looking to use this opportunity to further his ‘make in India’ mission and bring together the member nations on a common ground against terrorism and trade wars.BRICS is a grouping of five major emerging economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Originally the first four were grouped as “BRIC”, before the induction of South Africa in 2010. The members, this year, are expected to deliberate on issues like international peace and security, global governance and trade wars among others.BRICS leaders at the 2018 summit. ReutersBRICS leaders at the 2018 summit. Reuters
The theme of the summit this year is ‘BRICS in Africa: collaboration for inclusive growth and shared prosperity in the 4th Industrial Revolution’. India’s relations with South Africa date back several centuries as India was at the forefront of the international community in its support to the anti-apartheid movement in Africa. The year 2018 also marks 25 years since the resumption of India’s diplomatic relations with South Africa in 1993. The South African Indian-origin community is around 1.5 million strong and constitutes about 3 percent of South Africa’s total population.
Modi, however, will be doing a balancing act of cooperation and parity with all the other members. On one hand, he will be seeking new deals for India, while on other he will ensure that the member nations reach a consensus on key issues like trade tariffs and terrorism.The issues broadly include: multilateralism, global governance, health and vaccines, socio-economic empowerment of women, peacekeeping, network of science, parks and technology, inclusive growth, sustainable development and infrastructure. But for the first time, a BRICS leaders’ retreat is being organised wherein leaders will deliberate and take stock of BRICS cooperation during the decade and on its future prospects, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in its press release.
The idea of a BRICS rating agency will also be taken up during this year’s summit, said Secretary Economic Relations in MEA, TS Tirumurti. India had pressed the BRICS nations to set up an independent rating agency of the five-member group during the first meeting of the BRICS finance ministers and Central bank governors which was held on the sidelines of the IMF/World Bank spring meetings in April 2018.
Whereas, speaking at the informal meeting of the BRICS leaders on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in 2017, Modi had also said that expeditious action should be taken to establish the BRICS credit rating agency while asserting that the BRICS group has to be a voice of stability, reform, progress and governance at the world stage.The summit might also see the five nations hit out against US president Donald Trump’s protectionist trade policies as norms on greater financial integration and investment facilitation are discussed, a Business Standard report said.