On Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will preside over the annual summit of the five-nation group, BRICS. According to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro will attend the meeting. It is expected that the situation in Afghanistan will be discussed extensively during the meeting. Further, the leaders plan to discuss the impact of the avian influenza pandemic and other current global and regional concerns.
The BRICS are a collective of the five largest developing countries in the world, representing 42 percent of the world’s population, 23 percent of its GDP and 16 percent of its trade. Approximately 27 percent of the world’s land surface is also covered by the five countries, which cover an area of 39,000,000 square kilometers. BRICS is seen as the voice of developing countries or the global south from the Indian perspective.
Since these countries are faced with an aggressive club of developed countries, raising challenges on issues ranging from World Trade Organisation to climate change, New Delhi believes BRICS should protect the rights of developing countries. A BRICS platform gives India an opportunity to counterbalance Russia-China. Similarly, it provides India with a forum for galvanizing its efforts against terrorism; in this context, India has taken a stern stand against terrorism and organized specific consultations on terrorism-related issues.
Apprehensions about terror infrastructure in Afghanistan will top the agenda of the BRICS Summit on 9 September. China and Russia have already established contact with the Taliban dispensation at the time of the summit. While most nations have pulled their diplomats out of Afghanistan due to security concerns, they continue engaging the Taliban and keeping their missions open in Kabul.
As Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Wang Wenbin noted at a meeting of their National Security Advisors held on 24 August, the BRICS countries had already ‘communicated and coordinated’ on the Afghan case. Prompted by concern over the possibility of various terror groups stepping up activities from Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, an action plan was adopted to improve cooperation.
Grouping members are expected to discuss recognizing the new Taliban caretaker government in Afghanistan and channeling development aid through the BRICS Development Bank, also known as the New Development Bank. Since China and Russia are pro-Taliban, they may insist that the BRICS Bank lend aid to Afghanistan. However, India, Brazil and South Africa may not agree, since they would rather the BRICS Bank lend money to developmental projects in other countries.