Few saw BRICS emerging as one of the most successful and resilient multilateral platforms it has become. The global order is currently undergoing tremendous changes. The old world order dominated by the
West, the United States, in particular, has been deteriorating.
But a new world order has yet to solidify.
This transitional period of turbulence, turmoil, and uncertainty calls for multilateral forums like BRICS to raise voices throughout Asia, Africa, and Latin America to join peace-loving people in the West, advocating for a world order based on peace, equitable development, and global security for all.
New world order
The multilateral order is under tremendous pressure today. Forces of Western domination are fearfully watching their grip on the world slowly dissolve. They have deployed illegal and illegitimate strategies and tactics to create division in the international community, bring back the Cold War mindset, and foment many hotspots that threaten world peace, regional peace, and equitable development in the Global South.
In this context, the non-Western nations of India, China, Russia, South Africa and Brazil came together to form the BRICS platform. Through the platform, the countries have strengthened multilateral solidarity and cooperation.
Trends over the last two or three decades have changed the world order with a clear rise of Asia and non-Western countries. The combined GDP of BRICS countries has already overtaken the combined GDP of the G7, a platform of old hegemonic powers of the West.
The G7, led by the United States, is no longer in the position to guide and dictate terms for the rest of the world. Therefore, it is in the interests of all people who love peace and equitable development, favour global cooperation, and advocate solidarity to come together.
This is what BRICS stands for. Positive leadership BRICS countries are already showing readiness to serve the world with positive leadership. For example, China successfully brought Saudi Arabia and Iran together through a common platform, and the two sides showed readiness to resume diplomatic relations.
The historical significance of Saudi Arabia and Iran coming together is so enormous that it will change the dynamics of West Asia. For many years, the United States has been following the old colonial policy of “divide and rule,” whereas China has brought adversaries to the negotiating table.
BRICS countries need to foster more and more similar examples of successful dispute resolution and conflict resolution, which will raise the reputation of BRICS countries. In this context, BRICS may consider taking the initiative to end the Russia-Ukraine conflict as early as possible. Efforts to end the conflict will show that the United States is on the side of war whereas BRICS nations seek peace.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, another multilateral platform, was held in India this year virtually. India is also planning to host the G20 Summit later this year. If India and China come together and take a common stand on important issues affecting the world, it would completely change the global political scenario.
This makes it even more important for India and China to manage their bilateral differences, especially differences over the boundary, and ensure the border areas remain tranquil and peaceful. Leaders of BRICS countries coming together for summit meetings is not enough.
Expanding people-to-people contact and conversations among BRICS countries is equally important. All sectors of our societies including children, youths, teachers, scientists, cultural figures, and religious leaders should engage in more conversation and amplify peaceful voices.
And in the coming years, we should welcome more countries to join BRICS. Many countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America are eager to join. Today’s situation calls for BRICS+. Let’s hope this year is one of unprecedented success for BRICS.
Sudheendra Kulkarni is the founder and chairman of the Forum for a New South Asia. The article is an excerpt from his speech at the BRICS Seminar on Governance and BRICS Forum on People-to-People and Cultural Exchanges in Yangzhou, Jiangsu Province, China, on 30 March, 2023.