Since the beginning of the BRICS formation, all member states have found their role in the bloc, with the aim of affirming their position. Since inception, India took on a role that protected not only the country, but also the South-South cooperation and North-South dialogue.
India has for years being in the forefront of BRICS policies, as the first to pitch an independent BRICS credit rating agency, so that members can compare their rankings amongst each other instead of other developed countries. The former Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh, said at the 2013 BRICS Summit in Durban: “Given the collective economic weight and global standing of BRICS countries, the forum represents a unique mechanism to address regional and global challenges, particularly in so far as the interests of the developing world are concerned”. The idea of an independent credit rating agency was also raised by India at the 2018 BRICS Summit in South Africa.
In BRICS, India was also the brains behind intra-BRICS trade, which encourages member countries to import goods from each other instead of Europe. This was stressed again at the 10th BRICS Summit when the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi said: “BRICS has developed a robust framework for cooperation, it contributes stability and growth in a world drifting towards uncertainty.” Intra-trade provides the flexibility of trading in currencies other than the dollar. This works for the benefit of India because India’s rupee is currently the best performing currency among BRICS countries.
India took on the role of being a trade implementor in the South Asian and African regions because of its strong economic growth in Asia. This lead to dialogues of South to South and North to South trading, which became the centre stage at the 2016 BRICS Summit hosted by India. Ahead of the Summit, Former Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, delivering a lecture at a conference on South-South cooperation said: “Ours is a demand-driven solidarity based approach and we do not attach any conditionality and we are always respectful of the sovereignty of our partner countries. Our experience has been that the greatest strength of the South South cooperation has been its diversity of forms and flows.”
Worldwide auditor KPMG this year found that India has been recording the highest growth rate amongst the BRICS countries. Reporting on these findings, Deputy CEO of KPMG in India, Akhil Bansal said: “India today is setting an example, not just for developing economies, but also developed ones. The CEOs I speak with are interested in India and are of the belief that the country is well on its way towards becoming one of the world’s leading investment and business destinations,” making India a key partner in the BRICS bloc.
By Ntsikelelo Kuse