BRICS to link Beijing’s Belt, Road and New Delhi’s Act East

By Liu Zongyi Source:Global Times Published: 2016/10/13 19:33:39

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the establishment of BRICS. In the past decade, BRICS has evolved into a group that plays a vital role in global governance and represents newly emerging economies and developing countries.

The establishment of the New Development Bank is also a milestone for the group. It took only three years for the bank to come into being. Such speed and efficiency shows the urgent need for close cooperation between BRICS members.

In the past couple of years, given the sluggish global economy, worsening geopolitical environment, anti-globalization across the world and restraint from internal structural adjustment among members, BRICS has seen slowing development.

But according to statistics, India and China still rank high in terms of economic growth among the world's largest economies. Russia and South Africa are also gaining economic momentum. The abovementioned challenges highlight the necessity of BRICS countries to further enhance trade and investment cooperation, promote innovation and coordinate in global and regional affairs.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will host leaders and representatives from BRICS countries over the weekend in the southern state of Goa. They will discuss the world economy and work out countermeasures. This is the second time that India has hosted the BRICS summit. At the 2012 summit in New Delhi, India proposed to set up a South-South development bank.

Currently, the New Development Bank has released its first set of sustainable projects funded in the five member states.

This year, a branch of the bank will open in South Africa, which will not only provide funding for strategic projects in South Africa, but also contribute to basic infrastructure construction and sustainable development in Africa.

During the upcoming Goa summit, BRICS countries may announce the establishment of its rating agency. A reputable, transparent and independent BRICS rating agency will break the monopoly of the three existing Western rating institutes and push forward the economic development of emerging countries.

BRICS countries also coordinate frequently in global and regional security issues. All the countries are major powers in their regions and have their own concerns. Therefore, it is normal that their views over regional affairs differ. But each has been trying to solve regional conflicts, including the Syrian issue, through peaceful means.

One of the key items at this year's summit will be anti-terrorism. All BRICS members do not want to solve bilateral disputes through politicized multilateral platforms.

As for the decades-long Kashmir issue, BRICS countries can only play a mediating role rather than support one side while isolating the other. They cannot simply label a country as "supporter of terrorism."

One of the highlights of this year's Goa summit will be the meeting between BRICS leaders and the heads of state of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC).

It is worth noting that some members of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) are not included in the BIMSTEC mechanism, while some ASEAN nations are formal members of BIMSTEC. The participation of ASEAN countries shows the exclusivity of the summit, while the absence of some SAARC countries weakens the tolerance of regional major powers.

Through the BRICS summit, India wants to advance its "Act East" policy and promote linkage between India and some South Asian and Southeast Asian countries, which are also partners in China's "One Belt and One Road" initiative.

Hopefully, a close relationship between New Delhi and these countries will promote their linkage with China and pave the way for a win-win scenario.

The author is a senior fellow of Shanghai Institutes for International Studies and a visiting fellow of the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China. Follow us on Twitter @GTopinion

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