• BRICS started in 2001 as BRIC, an acronym coined by Goldman Sachs for Brazil, Russia, India, and China. South Africa was added in 2010.
  • The notion behind the coinage was that the nations’ economies would come to collectively dominate global growth by 2050.


  • The dominance of any group across the world is judged based on following parameters: Territory under control, Population, GDP and Trade. BRICS grouping has: o 42% of the global population, o 23% of the global GDP,
    o 30% of the global territory
    o 18% of the global trade.
  • BRICS members are also known for their significant influence on regional affairs; all are members of G20.
  • Contribution to global growth: In terms of GDP, China occupies second position; India fifth; Brazil ninth; Russia 11th; and South Africa 35th. In terms of growth rates, China grew at 6%; India at 4.5%, Russia 1.7%, Brazil 1.2% and South Africa 0.1%.
  • Collective strength of BRICS by way of consultation and cooperation on issues of mutual interests, as well as topical global issues, such as, international terrorism, climate change, food and energy security, reforms of global governance institutions, etc.
  • For example – An offshoot of the group, dealing with climate change, is BASIC (BRICS without Russia), which met at the Spain conference in December 2019 and reiterated its support to the Paris Agreement


  • Geo-Politics: Provides an opportunity for India to balance increasing Russia-China closeness.
  • Global Economic Order: BRICS countries shared a common objective of reforming international financial and monetary system, with a strong desire to build a more just, and balanced international order.
  • Voice of Developing Nations: BRICS has emerged as the voice of developing countries.
  • Terrorism: BRICS also provides a platform for India to galvanize its efforts against terrorism and has worked within the grouping to take a strong stand against terrorism.
  • Global Grouping: India is actively pursuing its membership for UNSC and Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG). China forms the major roadblock in pursuing such goals. Therefore, BRICS provides an opportunity to actively engage with China and gain its support.
  • Institutional Successes: New Development Bank is a multilateral development bank operated by BRICS states. It approved its first set of loans, which included a loan of US$ 250 million in respect of India for Multi- tranche Financing Facility for Renewable Energy Financing Scheme’.


  • Geographical separation: Members are fragmented along 4 different continents.
  • Political heterogeneity: For a long-lasting strong group, there should be political homogeneity. (Ex: EU). But China and Russia have authoritative government and rest have democracy.
  • Dominance of China: Chinese role in trade relations makes the BRICS much more a China-with-partners group than a union of equal members. China is floating its own organizations like One Belt One Road (OBOR), Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
  • Lack of Mutual trust and Interests: China- India rivalry (Territorial); Russia and Brazil rivalry (Mining). So, although BRICS has all necessary conditions (political, military and economic influence) to act like a global institution, but these conditions are not sufficient.


At a different level, BRICS membership elevates India’s global profile. China may still not be interested in de- hyphenating India and Pakistan, but India’s BRICS membership automatically de-hyphenates India and Pakistan, while it casts India and China as equals. So, even as challenges abound in the BRICS trajectory, the grouping will continue to be of some instrumental value to India in the years ahead.


  • Iran & Argentina have applied to join BRICS mechanism.
  • ‘BRICS Plus’ was first mooted by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in 2017 with the objective of widening the “circle of friends” of BRICS that can bring unity among developing countries & enhance South-South cooperation.
  • Argentina, Indonesia and Egypt are among countries that have previously indicated their interest in joining grouping.
  • BRICS Plus format was launched as a way for five countries to broaden their outreach with other developing countries.
  • BRICS-backed New Development Bank (NDB), based in Shanghai, has already inducted new members, with


  • Russia and China want to use current geopolitical environment as an opportune time to expand BRICS and challenge the domain of G7 by including members from G20.
  • Churning in international order, heightened by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and hardening of Western positions, are leading to making of competitive plurilateral fora. This also comes at a time when multilateral organisations have proved ineffective to resolve issues of global concern.
  • Cracks in G20 solidarity are already visible, and Russia is already out of G7 grouping.
  • China is challenging western influence over countries and wants to use BRICS to that end.


  • New Development Bank associated with BRICS, expanded membership in 2021, admitting Bangladesh, UAE, Uruguay and Egypt.
  • Countries from G20 are going to be prioritized which is visible from presence of Argentina, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia at the recent meeting.
  • Kazakhstan was invited as the largest country in Central Asia, where China and Russia have important interests.
  • Nigeria was invited as another important African economy. Senegal was invited as current chair of African Union. Thailand, as chair of APEC, and Indonesia, as chair of G20, were all part of the recent meeting.
  • However, from among Mexico, Indonesia, Korea, Turkey and Australia (MIKTA) all G20 members, only Indonesia was invited.
  • This highlights that China, backed by Russia, is creating cleavages to choose its friends from among the G20.


  • Brazil considers Argentina as a rival in Latin America.
  • If Nigeria and Egypt are admitted, South Africa would no more be the African representative in the BRICS.
  • Some new invitees have good relations with India, but India has not been consulted on expansion.
  • China, backed by Russia, is hastening the process of expansion of BRICS as part of its strategic challenge to international order and to collect middle powers around them.
  • India needs to ensure that expansion is not on Chinese terms and that countries admitted are equally receptive to India. Bilateral engagement with them should see this perception built up.
  • IBSA countries must assert their presence in BRICS, which should not become just a Russian Chinese affair.
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