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15 Oct, 2016 05:07

BRICS summit in India set to chart collective response to global threats

The eighth summit of BRICS nations has kicked off in Goa, south west India. Amid the turbulent geopolitical situation in the world, India, as the current BRICS chairman, is hosting under the slogan “Building Responsive, Inclusive and Collective Solutions.”

The leaders of Russia, India, China, South Africa and Brazil, as well as several guest countries, will meet at the summit to discuss the strengthening of strategic partnerships, cooperation on Russian and Chinese infrastructure projects, joint measures to fight global terrorism, drug dealing and corruption, and some of “the most important” issues facing the world today.

A declaration outlining the joint position of the BRICS group on the Syrian crisis is expected to be signed during the summit. China has repeatedly backed Russia’s position on the situation in Syria, while India has previously expressed major interest in achieving stability in the Middle East.

“China and Russia hold similar positions on the most important international and regional issues, including on Syria and Afghanistan,” China’s vice foreign minister Li Baodong said this week. “The sides, being permanent members of the UN Security Council, continue close cooperation on international and regional issues.”

However Brazil, unlike China and India, may choose to take a neutral stance on the Syrian crisis, political scientist Aleksander Shatilov believes.

“The West managed to rock BRICS with the coup in Brazil,” Shatilov told RT. “As a result, Brazil will have a neutral opinion on many problems. The BRICS approach to solving international conflicts could be among them.”

The integration of the Eurasian Economic Union (Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan) in the so-called Silk Road Economic Belt project is among one of the main goals of the summit. While infrastructure projects of the New Silk Road are already underway in EEU states, experts note both the importance of such an ambitious project, as well as certain possible obstacles that could stand in its way.

The summit may also mark a further expansion of EEU to the east, according to the Director of Eurasian Economic Union Institute Vladimir Lepehin.

“Today EEU, tomorrow EEU and Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), a day after tomorrow – other countries of Eurasian economical area, which are not members of EEU and SCO,” said Lepehin.

The creation of BRICS raised hopes that the end of the unipolar world is near, but this “dream” is still unfulfilled and the new summit is an important step for reaching that goal, believes political scientist Daniel Shaw from the City University of New York.

“The dream of the BRICS nations and really of all oppressed countries in the world is still unrealized,” Shaw told RT. “Eighth years ago Russia, China, South Africa, India and Brazil came together to form the BRICS block as a counterweight to US hegemony, to unipolar world where the US dominated military and geopolitically as well as economically. Eight years later that’s an unfinished dream and an unfinished mission, hence why this meeting, this summit this weekend in India is all the more important.”

The previous BRICS summit took place in the southern Ural city of Ufa, Russia, in July 2015. BRICS countries then established the New Development Bank (NDB), which has the potential to become an alternative to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).