Indian Diplomat Advocates Stronger, Sustained Intra-BRICS Economic Cooperation

© REUTERS / Wu Hong/PoolA staff worker walks past the national flags of Brazil, Russia, China, South Africa and India before a group photo during the BRICS Summit at the Xiamen International Conference and Exhibition Center in Xiamen, southeastern China's Fujian Province, China September 4, 2017
A staff worker walks past the national flags of Brazil, Russia, China, South Africa and India before a group photo during the BRICS Summit at the Xiamen International Conference and Exhibition Center in Xiamen, southeastern China's Fujian Province, China September 4, 2017 - Sputnik International
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The tenth annual BRICS summit is opening in South Africa on Wednesday. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has already departed from the country to participate in the summit.

New Delhi (Sputnik) – Speaking to Sputnik, former Indian Ambassador to Russia P.S. Raghavan says that he expects the summit to mainly focus on ways to jointly combat frictions in international trade, as well as other developments with global geopolitical repercussions. 

READ MORE: China Says BRICS to Step Up Group Decision-Making Amid US Trade Row

Sputnik: What is the significance of the BRICS grouping in the present geopolitical scenario?

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P.S. Raghavan: Let us recall that BRIC (and subsequently BRICS) first emerged with the objective of working towards reform of the global economic and financial architecture and making it more democratic. Over the years, it has also become a forum for projecting a non-Western (not anti-Western, as some project it) perspective on major global developments. I think both these strands of BRICS activity remain relevant today.

BRICS countries share the desire to create a genuinely multipolar world order and the summit would provide a good opportunity to see how to take forward this effort in the present geopolitical environment. 

Sputnik: The trade war triggered by the US' actions is being debated worldwide. Do you see the Summit as an opportunity for member countries to respond to the situation in a united manner?

P.S. Raghavan: What we see today is not yet a trade war, but the threat of one.

A trade war would obviously damage the economies of all the BRICS countries, but also those of the rest of the world. In addition to the threat of a trade war, we also have a range of economic sanctions with an extra-territorial application, which impinges on the autonomy of political and economic decision-making of countries.

A staff worker walks past the national flags of Brazil, Russia, China, South Africa and India before a group photo during the BRICS Summit at the Xiamen International Conference and Exhibition Center in Xiamen, southeastern China's Fujian Province, China September 4, 2017 - Sputnik International
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BRICS countries should certainly discuss how they can respond to this extraordinary situation. However, such matters are best dealt with by quiet diplomacy, rather than by harsh public statements. 

Sputnik: Do you foresee dialogues on the sidelines of the summit between India, Russia and China on the ongoing disharmony in international trade?

P.S. Raghavan: I think it is very likely that there would be bilateral consultations between India, Russia and China, not only on the frictions in international trade, but also on other developments with global geopolitical repercussions.

READ MORE: Need to Revive Regional Trade Agreements to Counter US Trade Policy: Economist

The recent Russia-US summit in Helsinki has raised hopes of a normalization of relations, which would have a positive impact on the political and security situation in Europe and Asia.

The US-North Korea summit was also a significant event, presenting both challenges and opportunities for peace and security in the Indo-Pacific region.  

The views and opinions expressed by P.S. Raghavan in this article are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect the position of Sputnik.

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