Restor­ing con­fi­dence with new ini­tia­tives

China Daily (Canada) - - VIEW -

The BRICS sum­mit in Goa will con­clude a month­long series of in­ter­na­tional meet­ings of BRICS rep­re­sen­ta­tives hosted in var­i­ous In­dian cities, show­cas­ing fed­er­al­iza­tion of In­dia’s in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions. These meet­ings have also cov­ered a range of themes from dis­as­ter risk re­duc­tion, sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy, tourism, sports, ur­ban­iza­tion, em­ploy­ment gen­er­a­tion, cy­ber­se­cu­rity, terrorism, en­ergy sav­ing, so­cial se­cu­rity and so on.

In keep­ing with re­cent trends, BRICS lead­ers in Goa will be joined by lead­ers from the sev­en­mem­ber BIMSTEC (Bay of Ben­gal Ini­tia­tive forMulti-Sec­toral Tech­ni­cal and Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion) re­gional group­ing that in­cludes Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan andNepal and will take this op­por­tu­nity to ex­plore BRICS re­gional syn­er­gies with In­dia’s im­me­di­ate neigh­bors. Also, in run up to the sum­mit, the Xavier Cen­tre ofHis­tor­i­cal Research in Goa is host­ing a large gath­er­ing of the Peo­ple’s Fo­rum on BRICS 2016, in which ac­tivists and aca­demics seek to bring the other per­spec­tives on var­i­ous so­cial, eco­nomic and eco­log­i­cal con­cerns.

All this shows BRICS is no longer just an eco­nomic group­ing but is fast emerg­ing as a po­lit­i­cal force in global de­ci­sion-mak­ing. Some BRICS mem­bers have no doubt been af­fected by the con­tin­u­ing global fi­nan­cial cri­sis re­cently, yet they show clear signs of a re­bound con­firmed by the most re­cent Global Eco­nomic Com­pet­i­tive­ness Report 2016-2017 of the World Eco­nomic Fo­rum, set­ting the stage by rais­ing the morale of the BRICS lead­ers.

In its list­ing on the com­pet­i­tive­ness for 138 coun­tries, the WEF places China at the high­est among the BRICS at 28th world­wide. Rus­sia has moved from 45th to 43rd and South Africa from 49th to 47th. In­dia has made the most vis­i­ble leap, mov­ing from 55th to 39th. Brazil has fallen six places, from 76th to 81st. But viewed as a col­lec­tive and against the back­drop of global GDP growth rates con­tin­u­ously fall­ing from 4.4 per­cent for 2010 to a mere 2.5 per­cent for last year, BRICS presents an en­cour­ag­ing pic­ture and will en­cour­age its mem­bers to con­tinue with their ef­forts at launch­ing newer ini­tia­tives.

Hav­ing suc­cess­fully launched it­sNewDevel­op­ment Bank and Con­tin­gent Re­serve Ar­range­ment, BRICS now plans to launch its own credit rat­ing agency to end the dom­i­nance of the likes of Stan­dard & Poor’s orMoody’s and Fitch and to bring in emerg­ing economies’ per­spec­tives to fur­ther en­hance their stand­ing and com­pet­i­tive­ness in in­ter­na­tional mar­kets. Sim­i­larly, learn­ing from the July 12 Ar­bi­tra­tion on South China Sea, BRICS Le­gal Fo­rum last month en­dorsed BRICS hav­ing its own ro­bust ar­bi­tra­tion mech­a­nisms to ad­dress the prob­lem of dou­ble stan­dards of ad­vanced na­tions. In ad­di­tion to a now­func­tion­ing dis­putes res­o­lu­tion cen­tre in Shang­hai, such as a BRICS-wise ar­range­ment will in­clude com­mer­cial ar­bi­tra­tion al­low­ing BRICS to re­solve dis­putes for for­eign in­vestors with­out sub­ject­ing them to their in­ef­fi­cient lo­cal le­gal sys­tems but also dis­cour­ag­ing them from go­ing throughWestern dom­i­nated global ar­bi­tra­tion pro­cesses.

Faced with con­tin­u­ing global fi­nan­cial cri­sis, lead­ers have also been dis­cussing de­vel­op­ing a BRICS bond mar­ket to ad­dress chal­lenges of debt se­cu­ri­ties trad­ing to strengthen their ex­ist­ing lack of liq­uid­ity mak­ing them vul­ner­a­ble to for­eign port­fo­lio in­vestors.

Rapidly grow­ing In­dia also sees the BRICS sum­mit ob­tain­ing it newop­por­tu­ni­ties and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, and it must build stronger part­ner­ship with Bei­jing, which has been the main force be­hind most BRICS ini­tia­tives. Some of the firsts of this BRICS 2016 sum­mit al­ready in­clude launch­ing of BRICS Young Sci­en­tists Fo­rum in Ben­galuru and launch­ing the BRICS Em­ploy­men­tWork­ing Group in­Hy­der­abad and its first BRICS Trade Fair in­NewDelhi open­ing this week. An un­der-17 BRICS football tour­na­ment in Goa andMum­bai will con­clude in Goa onOct 15th.

In­dia has also al­ready ben­e­fited from the sixth meet­ing of BRICS Agri­cul­ture and Agrar­ian De­vel­op­ment, de­cid­ing to set up a BRICS agri­cul­tural research cen­ter in In­dia, and a BRICS aca­demic fo­rum de­cided to set up a BRICS chair and doc­u­men­ta­tion cen­ter in­NewDelhi.

The author is pro­fes­sor at School of In­ter­na­tional Stud­ies, Jawa­har­lal NehruUniver­sity, NewDelhi.

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