After a long military confrontation with China that had the potential to turn into a full-fledged war, here comes a thaw in India-China relations yet again. Custodian of the longest disputed boundary in the world and a tumultuous history of war and peace, India and China came together on the platform of BRICS Summit held in Xiamen province in China. A substantive meeting took place between leaders of two powerful economies of not just South Asia but the globe. BRICS Summit was also attended by the Brazilian, Russian and South African heads of state. This annual diplomatic extravaganza is one of the most talked about multilateral gathering, as BRICS is considered to be a both economically and geopolitically significant block.
The BRICS Summit 2017 was crucial in multiple ways. Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi gave a confident speech citing GST as the most transformational and biggest economic reform of India post liberalisation. He also reiterated his government’s commitments, implementation, and consequences of schemes such as Digital India, Make in India, and Start-up India. One of the biggest diplomatic success of Indian administration can be the inclusion of strongly worded joint statement of the Summit that mentions several Pakistan-based terrorist groups as destroyers of peace in the region. The 43-page ‘Xiamen Decleration‘ expressed concern over the security situation in the region and the violence caused by the Taliban, ISIS, al-Qaida and its affiliates including Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the Haqqani network, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e- Mohammad, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Hizb ut-Tahrir. Such deliberation from the Chinese end was a major shift in their earlier stance, and can help India push the issue of sanctions against JeM chief Masood Azhar forward, that China has repeatedly thwarted.
Several bilateral meetings were conducted on the sidelines of the Summit to take forward multiple agendas for individual country’s growth and prosperity. Notably, the progress of New Development Bank established in 2015 and Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA) was acknowledged. Along with BRICS Economic Partnership, there were negotiations about the strengthening of political and security cooperation. Other specific areas of cooperation framework were trade and investment facilitation, information exchange, E-Commerce, IPR, SMEs, women economic empowerment, etc. Furthermore, BRICS E-Port Network and BRICS E-commerce Working Group has been established.
BRICS nations are also working to improve implement and improve International Standards on Combating Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism and Proliferation in FATF. Innovation and entrepreneurship has received a massive push by the implementation of the BRICS Innovation Cooperation Action Plan 2017-2020. Domains of the future such as Internet of Things, Cloud computing, Big Data, Data Analytics, Nanotechnology, Artificial Intelligence and 5G have been fast-tracked. Since India and China have emerged as global leaders of renewable energy research and deployment, the issue of Sustainable Development Goals and commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement was also raised fervently. The BRICS Business Council and Business Forum is working actively towards the goal of greater regional cooperation and economic interdependence. The summit has resolved to foster a global economic governance architecture. A general emphasis was made towards the resolution of Middle East crises and its speedy resolution.
Interestingly, BRICS nations have expressed support for the Iran Nuclear Deal which is supposedly under severe stress as per the belligerence of present American President and the Republican-majority Congress. They also expressed concern and support over the resolution of conflict in Democratic Republic of Congo, Libya, South Sudan, Somalia, Central Africa Republic and Western Sahara. Overall, the roadmap was optimistic, forward-looking and amicable. BRICS nations are already performing credibly well at their domestic frontiers. Meanwhile their geopolitical clout has also gathered pace and inevitability. This is great step in the direction of making BRICS bloc bigger and even more worthwhile globally.
Article by Mausam.