Despite efforts to portray the BRICS grouping as “dead” or “of no importance,” the just-concluded Eighth BRICS Summit in Goa, India displayed exactly the opposite: the BRICS exists as an institution, and despite upheavals in the world economy and British geopolitical machinations, these nations have consolidated their place as a “voice of influence on the world stage,” as the final Goa Declaration communiqué put it. The full functioning of the New Development Bank, which will ramp up lending to $2.5 billion next year, after a successful first year of operations, is evidence of the BRICS institutional character.
Chinese President Xi Jinping underscored this point in his remarks to the BRICS Business Council which met Saturday. The global economy is still in the midst of a “treacherous recovery” he said, yet despite difficulties, “the potential and strength of the BRICS countries in terms of resources, market and labor force is unchanged,” and continue to look positive for the future. The BRICS countries, he affirmed, have much to be proud of. “The past decade has seen BRICS partnerships expanding with win-win results. We need to deepen our partnerships: We BRICS countries are good friends, brothers and partners that treat each other with sincerity,” he was widely quoted in media today.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi seconded that sentiment, addressing the Business Council, saying “I think I speak for all when I say that through a common vision and collective action, we will create and sustain deeper bonds among BRICS nations, develop our economies and secure our societies. While our achievements have been substantial, we need to sustain the positive direction and strong momentum of intra-BRICS engagement.” He particularly emphasized the importance of institution building in the BRICS nations, saying he looked forward to the creation of a BRICS credit rating agency, speeding up the Agriculture Research Center, Railway Research Network, and sports council, among others entities.
Addressing the Council Saturday, Russian President Vladimir Putin reported that “we will now build on this strategy with the new investment cooperation roadmap currently under preparation.” Establishing close contacts and cooperation between the Business Council and the NDB is very important, he emphasized. “We hope to see relevant recommendations from the business community on expanding project activity with the Bank.” Putin noted that the first BRICS Trade Fair held in New Delhi Oct. 12-14 with Business Council support showed “our countries’ real potential for developing economic cooperation and expanding our work together in industry and technology.” Russia will continue efforts to facilitate economic rapprochement between BRICS countries and to lay the groundwork for launching new business projects, he said.