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Asia’s Troika and Future of BRICS

Chinese President Shi Jinping paid an informal visit to India last October. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi hosted this event in the five-thousand-year-old historic city of Tamil Nadu next to the Indian Ocean.

This visit has been the closest contact between two countries after China’s strong reaction to Delhi’s decision towards terminating the privileged status of Jammu and Kashmir only to split the region into two sections as the Land of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. Furthermore, the significance of this visit falls into place even more when we consider the recent US trade sanctions imposed on China and the problems that have been piling up after World War II, namely during the period of the Cold War.

This rapprochement between Beijing and Delhi offers new opportunities for Russian diplomacy which props a radical alteration of the situation in the Indo-Pacific region. Moscow had tried to establish an equilibrium policy between two strategic partners previously. But now, the troika power consisting Moscow-Beijing-Delhi trio has the potential to be one of the determining factors in world politics and the possible rapprochement between China and India will cast Moscow even more responsibilities allowing them to be more effective and accomplished in the long term.

Access to Russia in Indo-Pacific Region

India, which can maintain powerful relationships with the world-leading countries, is able to adumbrate its military and economic influence throughout the entire Indian Ocean basin and it becomes a stronger country year after year. Within this context, should there be an agreement over the previous disputes, they will have the opportunity to act together with a possible Troika in the Indo-Pacific region. The problems between the US and China hand a great opportunity to Russia and India on a silver platter for them to negotiate with China about the economic problems. The dispute between China and the US urges Beijing to act more careful with India’s requests about bilateral trade and Chinese companies penetrating India and regional markets. All these developments will build bridges for the Moscow-Beijing-Delhi triangle and will also have positive results on the effects of BRICS.

BRICS Leaders in Brazil

The leaders of the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, Republic of South Africa), which have growing economies, gathered for the 11th time last week hosted by Brazil. These countries, which make up about 42% of the population and 23% of the gross national product of the world, tried to bring synergy for two days with a very busy agenda of economics and politics. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who made important statements at the summit, explained about his plans during his BRICS leadership in 2020. He stated the following: “Russia takes part actively in international trade and we develop our relationships with other countries, primarily with our BRICS partners. Our trade volume with the other four countries has reached over 125 billion dollars in 2018. There are good opportunities for us to strengthen our relationship in computer sciences and telecommunications. We offer BRICS countries to take a closer look at our new projects. In other words, to electronic region management, research systems, and antivirus software that meets the highest security standards…”

BRICS countries announce that their aim is to achieve “fairer international governance” against the systems which have been under the control of Europe and the US until now. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov described the values and policies that brought the members together in an article published on China Daily newspaper in connection with the 11th BRICS summit: “The reason for the other countries being interested in BRICS countries is that the group preserves the values of pluralism; supports transparency in international trade without discrimination; is open, independent, and inclusive; rejects all unilateral economic and protective constraints towards international economic development.

Lavrov also added: “Various regions in the world still has significant potential to experience conflicts while the global politics continue. The mechanisms for arms control were deliberately undermined as in the example where we have seen the withdrawal of the United States of America from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. Structural imbalances in the world economy have not yet been overcome. Unfair competition practices such as unilateral economic sanctions, trade wards, and excessive abuse of the reserve currency of the US pose a threat to global economic growth. The international community could not manage to find any effective solutions to many challenges of our time from terrorism to climate change.”

Kundapur Vaman Kamath, Chairman of New Development Bank which is an international development bank established by the BRICS countries, underlined that the bank is open to all members of the United Nations and their duty is to allocate resources to sustainable development projects between other developing and growing economies and BRICS members. He also added the number of members would increase but did not provide any information about them.

Emerging Countries of Asia

The dominant policies of the US after the disintegration of the Soviet Union and its aftermath allowed the economically developing countries to start criticizing. We have been experiencing a period in which the political, economic, and military superiority of the US are questioned severely after Vladimir Putin came to power in Russia. In addition to this, one of the most significant reasons for the change of balance between the global powers is the rise of China and India. It can be easily revealed that Russia, China, and India, which are the rising countries of Asia, will closely affect the economic and political developments in the region once these factors are combined.

However, it is a fact that these countries do not yet have the power or courage to practice their own strategies independently. Although these countries try to implement relatively more independent and consistent foreign policies as the main actors amongst the rising powers, they are extremely sensitive both to the potential positions of the global powers and the competition amongst themselves. 

Within this framework, the difference between the political systems of these three countries will affect the potential developments. For example, albeit clouded, India has been trying to manage its own economic development inside a democratic political system since its independence. This situation has both advantages and disadvantages for India. Aside from India’s ethnic and religious diversity, huge gaps in income distribution between the states are among the most important problems of each election period. This structure, which leads to constant negotiations, conflicts, and coalitions inside the democratic system, is the most fragile point of India against China.

With regards to their territories and populations, Russia, China, and India are the most significant countries that influenced the historical and cultural shape and also the economic development of Asia. They try to be more effective in regional and global politics as a nuclear power while exhibiting an economic success story. It is also important that Russia and India are among the top countries selling the most arms in the world industry.

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Arif Asalıoğlu is General Director of the International Institute of the Development of Science Cooperation in Moscow; expert in the field of Russian-Turkish relations; columnist of Informational agency REGNUM; Founder of Russian and Turkish Intellectuals Meeting.

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