India holds the rotating chairmanship of BRICS in 2021, and the country will hold the BRICS summit in the second half of the year.
“We support India hosting this year’s BRICS meetings and stand ready to work together with it and other members to strengthen communication and cooperation in various fields,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin on Monday. The statement has attracted the attention of the Indian media.
China’s attitude shows that with the rising uncertainty in the international community, emerging countries need to look to one another for development. BRICS countries are among the largest emerging markets worldwide. Expanding cooperation within the BRICS will not only bring additional development momentum to the five countries, but will also improve their strategic initiative.
What has attracted Indian media’s attention is that despite the border disputes and challenges in China-India ties, Wang still made the above statement. This shows that China doesn’t want to see bilateral disputes affect the cooperation mechanism among the BRICS countries. This is a strategic choice made by a responsible major country from the perspective of the whole picture.
China’s efforts are clear to all in the two decades since the establishment of the BRICS mechanism, acting as an important driving force for the solidification of the mechanism. “Under the current changes worldwide and the COVID-19 pandemic, China will seek and expand common interests with other member states as always, and is still willing to develop together with other BRICS countries, including India,” Qian Feng, director of the research department at the National Strategy Institute at Tsinghua University, told the Global Times.
China and India have achieved a smooth completion of disengagement of frontline troops in the Pangong Tso area. The two countries also held the 10th round of China-India Corps Commander Level Meeting on Saturday, and both agreed to follow the important consensus of their state leaders and push for a mutually acceptable resolution of the remaining issues. “China still attaches great importance to China-India relations and India’s important role in international and regional affairs,” Qian said.
As the COVID-19 pandemic is still raging, there is much room for cooperation among BRICS countries, including China and India. For example, during the 2020 BRICS summit, the five countries’ leaders reached a consensus on cooperation on COVID-19 vaccines. This is an example of the BRICS countries’ joint development amid rising uncertainties. In addition, China and India are the two largest economies in BRICS. In this context, India should also have the strategic wisdom to set aside bilateral disputes and stick to the BRICS cooperation framework.
“India regards BRICS as another important mechanism to enhance its status as a major power and participate in global governance. As India has actively embraced the QUAD framework in recent years, the BRICS is a platform for India to maintain its status as an emerging market and to better balance the country’s diplomacy,” Qian said.
India should meet China halfway and downplay geopolitical issues and China-India disputes under the BRICS framework. New Delhi should not prevent member countries from reaching a consensus. After all, this is also what India should do as the country has assumed the chairmanship. China-India disputes should not affect the BRICS framework. If India fails to see this, it will be an irresponsible act for the development of the country and the other four members.