Many nations across Asia, Africa and Latin America have either become full-fledged members or desire to join the BRICS, which makes the group more representative with a bigger responsibility in global affairs
Since 2020, the world has undergone spectacular changes in terms of geopolitics, geostrategy and geoeconomics. Needless to mention that with the Covid-19 pandemic which tormented the entire world community leading to a huge loss of lives and properties, the world has witnessed changes and challenges.
What has added insult to injury are the internecine conflicts among nations, big power tensions (US-Russia and US-China), Indo-Pacific imbroglio, withdrawal of international forces in Afghanistan and the subsequent power usurpation by Taliban, Russia-Ukraine war the last two and half years, the South Caucasus cauldron and the turbulent Middle East have threatened every nation and region, their people, the world bodies, and regional entities.
Relevance of BRICS
As the ensuing BRICS Summit is approaching in October this year, the moot question arises in this context, how has the BRICS, the mouthpiece of the Global South in the last one and half decades, been relevant at this critical juncture?
Despite the criticism of the BRICS by many scholars and pundits of geopolitics, especially from the Western world, it can be argued that the BRICS would be an important force to reckon with in the coming times, in particular, to nourish the interests of the developing world.
The biggest asset of this influential regional grouping is the very fact that its member countries jointly account for a substantial portion of the world’s landmass, population, and significant volumes of natural resources, including energy (oil), in addition to an economy with nearly 25 percent of world’s total exports. Two of its members (China and India) are among the top five economies of the world.
Many nations across Asia, Africa and Latin America have either become full-fledged members or desire to join it, which makes the group more representative with a bigger responsibility in global affairs.

It is important to note herewith that the BRICS, which started with a group of nearly half a dozen “emerging-market nations” (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), has expanded in the beginning of 2024 with the inclusion of three Asian countries (Iran, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia) and two African countries (Ethiopia and Egypt) as members.
As per reports, 34 countries have expressed keen interest to join the bandwagon. This is a welcome move and corroborates that the BRICS still commands respect among the developing nations.
In the last one and half decades since its inception in 2006, the BRICS has been a champion of “true multilateralism,” which adds the most coveted feather to its achievements.
There is a major representation of the BRICS member countries in international organisations or groupings such as the United Nations, G20, Non-alignment Movement (NAM) and G77, which has augured and can augur well for the BRICS as well as the developing world on political and economic terms.
India at BRICS
The unity among the BRICS members stems from the fact that they have long been advocating for promotion of local currencies for global transactions. The consensus among the BRICS members in this context is in the line of “multi-alignment.”
Amidst this critical state of affairs, there is high hope from India under Narendra Modi, who has begun his third term in June 2024 as the Prime Minister of the country. India has been instrumental in championing the cause of the Global South and its policy of “reformed multilateralism” is well-taken all across the globe.

 The successful G20 Summit organized by India last year showcased India’s priority for the Global South. India is poised to maintain a perfect balance in the global power circuit as it has been doing for the last so many years.
It can be noted herewith that India has maintained a warm relationship with the western countries led by the USA by pursuing a “fiercely independent foreign policy” without sacrificing its friendship with countries like Russia.
Similarly, despite the differences and irritants in the India-China relationship, particularly since the Galwan incident (June 2020), both neighbours have worked together in many global and regional fora, including the SCO, BRICS and so on.
The need of the hour for the BRICS, after a significant shift in the global order in the past few years, is how to get the voices of the Global South it represents heard in the international fora. The revamped BRICS or the so-called “BRICS Plus” has opened avenues for the aforesaid possibility.
All BRICS members should strive for what this grouping stood for, for example, “to serve common interests of emerging market economies and developing countries, and to build a harmonious world of lasting peace and common prosperity,” as described in the joint statement of the First BRICS Summit in 2009.
The founding members of the BRICS, especially Russia, China, and India, have a far greater role to play. The possibility of India, Brazil and South Africa becoming permanent members of the UN Security Council, in case of any reform in the world body, would lead to rise in this grouping's international stature.

The influential members of this grouping have to make a combined endeavour to usher in a free, equal, just, inclusive and progressive world order that would cater to the needs and aspirations of billions of people living on this earth.
***The writer teaches at the Centre of Inner Asian Studies, School of International Studies, JNU; views expressed here are his own 
(Note: This article first appeared in INN)