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SOURCE: RYAN GEORGE KOYITHARA / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG

A global trend aimed at building an alternative economic and financial system parallel to the current one was intensified by the Russia-Ukraine war. The BRICS nations —Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa—which together account for 41% of the world’s population—adding the GCC countries. These nations also make up 23% of the world’s economy and 18% of its trade, reflecting their proportional significance to the world economy as a whole. Saudi Arabia recently submitted an application to join the group, and it is perceived that current members heartily will welcome the move. Also being discussed is the possibility of the UAE and Turkey joining, which would fundamentally alter the balance of power in the world and contribute to a more stable system.

The three countries’ expected entrance will bring about a significant shift that will favour the East. Saudi Arabia, with its enormous energy potential, the UAE, as a major international financial and commercial hub, and Turkey, with its geographic location, industrial development, and technological advancement, will significantly increase their influence over the group and rebalance power between the East and the West.

It goes without saying that the world will become even more divided into two sizable blocs if the BRICS grows stronger. The Western camp, which now has sway over the global economy’s levers, will take the lead in the first.

A major development that would have a significant impact on international relations is the addition of oil-producing nations, which would give the group 31% of the world’s oil production, simply because the world will witness the merging of the biggest energy producers and consumers.

The Saudi Arabian situation is both puzzling and fascinating. In West Asia, Saudi Arabia has long been a key friend of the US. However, the relationship has had a roller-coaster ride over the past few months. The intention of Saudi Arabia, a long-time US ally, to join the BRICS tells the West that the world is becoming more multipolar. This is particularly pertinent given that the US was unable to convince its Middle Eastern partners to join other OPEC+ nations in limiting oil production and depriving Russia of its energy revenues.

The BRICS countries announced the establishment of a parallel bank with a $150 billion capital to compete with the IMF, dealing another blow to the west. Additionally, BRICS is a little “perplexed” about growing its membership. It lacks a definite expansion policy. Previously, several of the members have rejected such initiatives. Saudi Arabia would be welcomed by Russia and China with open arms, but other BRICS members might not feel the same way. Saudi Arabia and India have deep ties.

But, India might not be open to the notion of broadening the bloc at this time. India, Brazil, and South Africa worry that other nations may make similar demands. The five founding countries of the BRICS must agree unanimously on its expansion. Political and economic ties, notably those involving oil, exist between Saudi Arabia and India. India can express its opinion on Saudi Arabia’s membership more easily than, say, Argentina, which has strained ties with New Delhi. It is worth mentioning that regional powers in their regions make up the BRICS, and they are apprehensive of their adversaries joining the group.

The existing economic system and its components, which were established 80 years ago, are no longer viable due to massive changes in the economic and geopolitical balance of power, the emergence of new economic powers, and the demise of others. This truth must be properly understood if the world is to avoid further conflicts impeding an equitable global order.

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