The BRICS summit, uniting leaders from Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, has commenced in Johannesburg, igniting international interest that has rarely been seen since the bloc’s formation 14 years ago. The three-day meeting focuses on the possibility of enlarging the group, which aims to establish itself as a geopolitical alternative to Western-led forums like the Group of 7.
The recent summit has attracted significant attention due to global events such as Russia’s Ukraine invasion and trade tensions between Beijing and Washington. These circumstances have reignited debates over whether BRICS will remain a trade alliance or evolve into a new international coalition. Numerous nations, including Argentina, Nigeria, Iran, Belarus, Saudi Arabia, and Indonesia, have expressed interest in joining the bloc, reflecting its diverse makeup representing 40 percent of the world’s population and a quarter of its economy.
China’s President Xi Jinping met with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa ahead of the summit, emphasizing their political and economic ties. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also attended the event, while Russian President Vladimir Putin participated virtually to avoid an international arrest warrant related to crimes during the Ukrainian conflict.
The dynamics of BRICS’ expansion vary among its member countries. China, as the largest economy, favors expansion to bolster its influence, while Russia seeks new allies amid its involvement in the Ukraine war. India and Brazil, with existing strong alliances, adopt a more cautious stance. South Africa, the smallest economy, seeks greater African representation and has invited over 30 African leaders to participate.