The BRICS consortium has extended a coveted invitation to six nations, marking a significant expansion of the group’s membership. The resounding call for unity among the BRICS nations – Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa – reverberated through the corridors of a pivotal three-day summit hosted in Johannesburg. However, the expansion discourse, though unanimous in principle, unveiled subtle fault lines among leaders regarding the magnitude and rapidity of this transformation.
At the forefront of this monumental development, President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa unveiled the names of the privileged invitees: Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE. This vibrant array of nations is set to join the BRICS ranks in a meticulously orchestrated phase-one expansion, scheduled to come into effect on January 1, 2023.
In an statement, President Ramaphosa shared, “The journey toward this momentous BRICS expansion has been paved with meticulous deliberation. The guiding principles, criteria, and procedures have been tirelessly discussed and refined, culminating in a collective consensus.” He added, “This initial phase is a stepping stone, with subsequent phases poised to unfurl in due course.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India, an ardent advocate of this magnification, conveyed his felicitations to President Ramaphosa, accentuating India’s steadfast support for BRICS’ enlargement. “The inclusion of new members is poised to fortify BRICS’ very essence, infusing our joint endeavors with renewed vigor,” PM Modi affirmed. He voiced his confidence that the influx of these new constituents will infuse a fresh dynamism into the alliance’s collaborative efforts. Additionally, he underscored India’s historical connections with the incoming nations, forecasting an enriched dimension to bilateral cooperation.
Emphasizing the global resonance of this expansion, PM Modi’s words reverberated, “The evolution and modernization of BRICS beckon other global institutions to mirror this adaptability. As the 21st century unfolds, this initiative emerges as a harbinger of reform.” In a discernible allusion to the persistent demand for an overhauled UN Security Council, he highlighted the potential for recalibrating established 20th-century institutions.
Crucially, all six entrants share a common thread – alignment with China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a transcontinental connectivity endeavor. Notably, while this expansion echoes China’s resounding influence, it garners resonance through the supportive nods of South Africa and Russia. The latter, beset by diplomatic challenges due to the Ukrainian conflict, seeks to reclaim its international standing.