Academic journal article Indian Foreign Affairs Journal

A 'BRICS' Wall? the Complexity of China-India Multilateral Politics

Academic journal article Indian Foreign Affairs Journal

A 'BRICS' Wall? the Complexity of China-India Multilateral Politics

Article excerpt

Many believe that the rise of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) forum is the collateral starting point of a new multipolar world order. The recently concluded 2012 New Delhi BRICS summit pushed this notion ahead, prompting a debate whether BRICS is the key to a "non-Western order". The Delhi Declaration stated that the BRICS platform is a key in enhancing "... security and development in a multipolar, interdependent and increasingly complex, globalizing world".1 Within the prism of the decline of the neo-con idea of a US-dominated unipolar world order, the dialogue of BRICS has gathered momentum, with concepts like "non-polarity" and "post- American world" becoming more popular. Experts and scholars have argued their part of the jingle, realizing the weight and vitality of the emerging economies and the developing powers in a rapidly evolving global order, which is versatile and multi-faceted in nature. Richard N. Haass argues that "twentyfirst- century international relations is turning out to be non-polarity: a world dominated not by one or two or even several states but rather by dozens of actors possessing and exercising various kinds of power", indicating a shiftfrom the previous world order.2 Fareed Zakaria argues that "the age of American unipolarity - which began with the collapse of the Soviet Union - has ended".3 Most of these debates indicate that the world is changing rapidly, and the rise of BRICS is the immediate attraction, where the spotlight is often on the emerging economies, especially on China and India.

India's and China's recent turn to cross-continental politics in their global approach, as evidenced in their operational and declaratory policies, has been demonstrated through the politics of BRICS, IBSA (India, Brazil, South Africa) and BASIC (Brazil, South Africa, India, China). Among these three cross-continental groupings, the statement of BRICS has been impressive, as it not only links Asia's two adversary powers - China and India - together, but asks for a greater "fair and democratic"' order with an anti-Western country like Russia. But although the rise and influence of BRICS has unquestionably been significant, the formulations of BRICS within a "non- Western" premise are always complex under any conditions. While boosting global economic growth, enhancing multilateralism and promoting democracy in international relations are some of the main conditionalities that unite BRICS today, the broader objective through which BRICS gathers its global momentum is to enhance the "voice of emerging and developing countries in international affairs".4 This declared objective is, however, difficult to attain, especially given the power politics among the BRICS members themselves in a Chinese-dominated developing-world order.

The complexity of China's and India's rise as Asian and global powers and their complex bilateral relations are a matter of grave concern not only for the sustainability of BRICS, but also to the vision and dialogue of a multipolar world order. The conceptual underpinning of the crosscontinental power politics is much rhetoric currently within BRICS, lacking substance in strategic perceptive. This paper aims to scrutinize the policy approaches of China and India, Asia's two impressive economic powers, towards BRICS. In particular, it intends to explore and provide a comparative policy analysis of the Chinese and Indian dialogue on the current cross-regional multilateral politics, thrusting on BRICS. It argues that the dialogue of the two countries about establishing an alliance among the developing countries across the continents is a temporary and ad-hoc approach, linked to their respective individual global foreign policy aims and objectives. Connecting to various cross-continental coalitions is a phenomenon very much linked with their current foreign policy trajectory more than anything else. China's relations with the BRICS countries are in a different league from India's. …

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