External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar has provided an update on the expansion of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) bloc. According to Jaishankar, the process of expansion is still a work in progress, and the member nations are approaching the idea with a positive intent and an open mind.
After a meeting of the foreign ministers of the BRICS nations in Cape Town, Jaishankar emphasized the positive intent and open-mindedness demonstrated by the member countries. He noted that the leaders of the BRICS countries had previously assigned them the task of formulating guiding principles, standards, criteria, and procedures for admitting new members. Jaishankar stated that this process is still in its early stages.
“We are approaching this with positive intent and an open mind,” Jaishankar affirmed.
Consolidation Within BRICS and Engagement with Non-Members
The expansion process involves various aspects, as outlined by Jaishankar. One aspect is the consolidation of cooperation among the existing BRICS members. Another aspect involves exploring how the bloc can engage with non-BRICS countries. Additionally, the appropriate format for BRICS expansion is being examined. Jaishankar emphasized that progress on these matters will depend on the work of the sherpas representing the BRICS members.
Brazilian Foreign Minister Mauro Vieira echoed Jaishankar’s view on the importance of preserving the BRICS brand. Vieira emphasized that BRICS represents 40% of the world’s population, making it a valuable asset. He acknowledged that the bloc’s success has attracted the attention of many other countries over the past 15 years.
China’s BRICS+ Model
China’s Vice Minister Ma Zhaoxu highlighted the development and recognition of China’s proposed BRICS+ model, which aims to foster solidarity and cooperation between developing countries and emerging market economies. Zhaoxu expressed China’s satisfaction in seeing more countries expressing interest in joining the BRICS family. He emphasized that the expansion of BRICS will benefit the member countries, developing nations, and increase the representation and influence of the mechanism.
Roadmap and BRICS Summit
South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor, the host of the meeting, stated that no useful document regarding the expansion matter had been finalized yet. Once a document providing clear guidance is prepared, it will be presented at the BRICS Summit in Pretoria in August. The BRICS+ meeting, which will be part of the summit, is expected to include various African countries and chairs of regional community bodies from different regions worldwide.
Attraction of BRICS as a Symbol of a Multipolar World
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov remarked that the interest of numerous countries in joining BRICS is a testament to its significance as a symbol of the multipolar world. Lavrov highlighted that BRICS represents more than a dozen countries, attracting them with its ideals and values.
Potential New Members
Reports suggest that countries such as Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Venezuela, and Argentina are seeking membership in the BRICS bloc.
The BRICS bloc, comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, is actively exploring the expansion of its membership. The member nations approach this expansion with a positive intent and an open mind. The ongoing progress involves consolidation within the BRICS group, engagement with non-members, and the examination of the appropriate format for expansion. The development of China’s BRICS+ model and the attraction of BRICS as a symbol of a multipolar world further contribute to the expansion discussions.
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