Answer Writing Practice for UPSC IAS Mains Exam: Paper - III (General Studies – II) - 1st August 2018

Answer Writing Practice for UPSC IAS Mains Exam

UPSC Syllabus:

  • Paper-III: General Studies -II (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations)

Q. “BRICS has grown in influence in the first decade of its formation but is still far from achieving its initial goals”. Comment. (250 words)

Model Answer:


  • Why in news?
  • Introduction – What, Why and initial goals
  • Growth in its influence
  • Gaps in achieving its initial goals
  • Conclusion

Why in news?

The 10th edition of the BRICS Summit took place recently in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Introduction – What, Why and initial goals

BRICS is the acronym coined by British Economist Jim O’Neill meant for an association of five major emerging national economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. In 2009 the leaders of BRIC countries made the first summit and in 2010 BRIC became a formal institution. South Africa joined the BRIC grouping on December 24, 2010, after which it became BRICS.

The BRICS group is a South-South framework for cooperation. The group also acts as a bridge between developed and developing countries.

Its initial goals are –

  • To reform of global financial governance,
  • Democratization of the United Nations, and
  • Expansion of the UN Security Council.

Growth in its influence

  • As a partnership that represents over 40% of the world’s population and accounts for 22% of global GDP, BRICS continues to be an influential voice as the changing power equations within BRICS are being watched closely and globally.
  • Intra-BRICS cooperation is on a rising trajectory.
  • The BRICS Business Council has been actively enhancing trade and economic cooperation in diverse sectors ranging from manufacturing and energy to financial services and regional aviation.
  • The steady progress in interactions through sports, films, education, culture and tourism has been commendable.
  • An immediate benefit that BRICS provides is the immense opportunities for networking among leaders. A large number of bilateral meetings took place on the summit’s sidelines. For example, the interaction between Indian Prime Minister and Chinese President, the third in four months, deepened the trend towards conciliation between Asia’s two biggest powers.
  • Most multi-lateral institutions were designed in the era when the West dominated the world. The US and Europe are over-represented in the IMF and the World Bank. Together with Japan, they control most regional development banks as well. BRICS challenged the current governance of Western financial institutions like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank by establishing New Development Bank (NDB).
  • BRICS countries has developed a strong economic and political relationship with the African, Latin American and Asian countries; it is projected that in the coming years it may change in the international economic order by using common currency in trade, cooperation in their own science and technology to bring about structural improvement in these economies.
  • China introduced the “BRICS Plus” format at the Xiamen summit last year by inviting a few countries from different regions. South Africa emulated it, arranging the attendance of top-level representation of five nations of its choice: Argentina, Jamaica, Turkey, Indonesia and Egypt. The precise role of “BRICS Plus” countries will take time to evolve.

Gaps in achieving its initial goals

  • Reforming the global governance architecture has been discussed in BRICS for long however this process has moved too slowly and far from any credible progress. Besides other reasons, the expansion of the Security Council is still far from realization partially because two of its members (China and Russia) do not want the other three members (India, South Africa and Brazil) to obtain parity in the global pecking order.
  • BRICS countries were not able to put forward a credible alternative to the conventional approach that IMF should be run by a Western European. Nor have they been able to speak with one voice about the most important global economic and financial challenges – co-ordination of monetary and fiscal policies, macroprudential regulation, development aid etc.
  • China’s dominance is a reality even as the grouping asserts the sovereign equality of all members. China-Russia proximity has been a continuing factor.
  • The BRICS’s outreach to Africa is commendable but African leaders are in need of big loans from the New Development Bank (NDB) for their infrastructure projects. So far, the NDB has dispersed loans totalling $5.1 billion — all to its members only.
  • India had mooted the idea of having a credit rating agency for the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) grouping to can solve impediments for the emerging market economies posed by the present credit rating agency market that is dominated by S&P, Moody's and Fitch. However, no decision was taken to set up the BRICS credit rating agency during the Johannesburg summit.
  • BRICS has broader commitment to cooperate for strengthening multilateralism, the rule of law and an equitable international order. However, one of the BRICS members (China) does not follow in word and spirit this high-sounding prescription in regard to Asian affairs.


Given the size of combined GDP and population, BRICS will continue to be an influential voice as long as its convergences prevail over its divergences. It should however step up its efforts for achieving its initial goals including reforms in IMF and of the UN Security Council.

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