India doesn’t deserve the vilification campaign presently rife.
Reports claim India has been a reluctant BRICS traveller; that it blocked Algeria’s entry at France’s request, and that but for Russia’s persuasion, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Iran wouldn’t have had India’s nod. Why, Reuters even floated that Indian prime minister Narendra Modi might not be present in person in Johannesburg!
The insinuation is that India is hedging its bet both on the West and BRICS, both on unipolarity and multipolarity, and worse it could be West’s agent in the room filling fast with Global South.
It’s true the West sees BRICS as a threat for the latter wishes to wrest control of its resources and food, the usurpation of which is central motif of the Hegemonic order.
The West could never have their fill with the loot of raw materials of others; have no intention of shutting its military bases and if 90% of oil-producers and traders were to get together, it can’t just live on its propaganda of “green energy” and “climate change” or the mascot that Greta Thunberg is.
After all fossil fuel still accounts for 92% of world’s needs without which no country could have its manufacturing and no home its light.
The control of world’s fossil fuels is the fulcrum of the US policy since 1945. One could speculate on the forces which sodomized a Muammar Gaddafi or hanged a Saddam Hussein or caused the mysterious death of a Hugo Chavez of Venezuela — but we all know to which ears it was sweet music.
And how does the BRICS look at West?
Sure, it doesn’t like how the IMF and World Bank hold them in a debt trap; it hurts them that they can’t refine own resources which gives the predatory forces almost 80% of the profit; they are afraid one fine day their assets could be seized and gold looted or stored in US is never returned as the instances of Germany, Afghanistan and Libya would testify.
Many Africans indeed are now throwing up at the sight of Western boots at home or that they are not allowed to have a currency of their own.
A few resolutions in the Johannesburg Summit declaration would be burning oil to West’s ears. Sample:
- A concern that unilateral coercive measures are inconsistent with the principles of the Charter of the United Nations…(we prefer) more representative, more democratic and more responsible (global governance).
- The defense of human rights must be “in a non-selective and non-politicised context” as well as “without double standards.”
- The declaration seeks a “two-state solution leading to the establishment of a sovereign, independent and viable State of Palestine,” and makes due mention on Niger, Libya, Sudan and Yemen.
It calls for a general reform of the Bretton Woods institutions (IMF and WB) where the US is over-represented.
Yet the BRICS is not looking to overturn the Hegemonic Order.
It’s trying to control its own destiny and well being and if that ends up hurting the Hegemonic Order, well, too bad.
Russia and China might be engaged in an existential battle with the West but they too are not trying to create a bloc against the West.
If it was so, the BRICS wouldn’t be welcoming new members many of whom are not exactly known to be friends: Iran and Saudi Arabia, Argentina and Brazil today; Syria and Turkey tomorrow.
If China and Russia wanted to have a bloc, they would’ve looked to keep the group small, tightly woven, a G7 for instance, and not welcomed all and sundry many of whom are potential rivals.
The truth is, a bigger, diverse group is more likely to render BRICS useless if the mission is to nail the West to the wall. It would be a geopolitical paralysis and not cohesion.
Indeed, a bigger group dilutes China’s power, more so if the entire oil giants are pulling their weight in harness, a pole of considerable muscle in the BRICS groupings.
Those who wish to pigeon-hole India in BRICS or Western camp thus have got it completely, completely wrong.
BRICS is a system of self-defence, those who don’t wish to be dominated any longer by any force. It’s not an alternative to the West or a “Club China.” It’s aim since the declaration in the 2009 Summit is of a more equitable multipolar world order.
India, likewise, is not looking to throw off the Hegemonic order. It wishes to pursue its interest without fear or coercion, standing up if it has to when pressure was mounted against Russia; on buying its oil or uninviting Zelensky in the G20 summit despite the express desire of the Ukrainian president.
Today India looks to increase the intra-BRICS trade as Indian prime minister Narendra Modi himself espoused in 2019. It would require improving India’s export profile for its present-day trade deficit is over 200 billion dollars.
The truth is West doesn’t need enemies. It has one in themselves. It’s sanctions are illegal, the assets it expropriates is arbitrary and it doesn’t enjoy the moral authority in the rest of the world. It has also shown itself weak in Ukraine: It’s sanctions haven’t brought Russia down on its knees; its NATO is struggling to match up to the firepower or reserves of Russia. This would only grow worse if Trump comes back to power or if Ukraine finally begs for peace which isn’t far off.
That’s why the rest of the world has now found its voice. It has a shared collective memory of colonialism and ills of global system brought into force after World War II. They sense a moment to free themselves from the yoke of 500 years.
And there is no way the West can stem this tide. It can’t use its military against everyone; it can’t sanction the rest of the world. There is already talk of BRICS and SCO being fused together which would beef up this group militarily.
Sure the West would try to hurt, anarchy or terrorism still isn’t beyond them or a biological war to rain hell on defiants. Media and paid writers would sow dissension 24×7 as we see in the instance of India being shown as a weak link of BRICS.
All India needs to be careful about is not to make the border issue with China bigger than it really is. It must not cloud its bigger vision. Media everyday is looking for a juicy vicious byte and India happily obliges them.
Grudging the rise of Yuan won’t help—it’s yuan which has brought Saudi Arabia and Iran on the same table. Brazil has taken steps to trade in yuan, its prepared to accept Argentina’s import payments in yuan. The world seeks to get from yuan what it is looking to forsake in dollar.
Everything and anything which could be construed as India acting against Global South would now become an agenda. You could have your proof in the G20 Summit in next few days.