During the second day of the BRICS Summit 2023 held in Johannesburg, South Africa, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed strong support for the expansion of the BRICS group. This marked a significant step forward, as the expansion plans were being championed by Russia and China, with South Africa also in favor. The expansion could potentially see more than 40 countries from the Global South joining the BRICS bloc. This shift in India’s stance signals its willingness to broaden the alliance beyond its core members and underscores the growing consensus for expansion.

Expansion Plans Gain Momentum

Us President Joe Biden &Amp; India'S Prime Minister Modi (Source: Nbc News)
US President Joe Biden & India Prime Minister Modi (Source: NBC News)

Prime Minister Modi’s opening remarks at the summit conveyed India’s complete endorsement of the BRICS group’s expansion. This statement reinforced the consensus among key members like Russia, China, and South Africa, which had already expressed support for an enlarged membership. While initial expectations suggested that countries like India and Brazil might be hesitant due to their traditional non-alignment policies, this summit presented a different picture. Even Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who was initially considered a holdout to expansion, expressed interest in Argentina joining the group.

Read more: BRICS at a Crossroads: Shaping the Global Order

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Diverse Priorities and Agendas

Russia President Vladimir Putin Speaking At Brics Summit 2023 (Source: Pbs)
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin speaking at BRICS Summit 2023 (Source: PBS)

Leaders of the five major emerging economies – South Africa, India, Brazil, Russia, and China – presented their respective countries’ priority areas during the summit. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa emphasized partnerships with Africa and the need for changes in the international financial system. President Putin of Russia criticized neocolonialism and expressed openness to resolving the conflict in Ukraine. President Xi Jinping of China highlighted stability, cooperation, and the danger of a “Cold War mentality.” Prime Minister Modi highlighted the achievements of the BRICS group over the past 15 years, such as the New Development Bank and the contingent reserve arrangement.

Read more: 20 Nations Eager to Join BRICS Alliance

BRICS Expansion and Global Unity

Source: Atalayar
Source: Atalayar

The desire for expansion underscored by India’s support reflects the changing dynamics of international alliances and cooperation. The BRICS group aims to move beyond an exclusive club, as emphasized by former Brazilian President Lula. He highlighted the importance of including countries that meet certain conditions, ensuring the group’s coherence and effectiveness. The idea is to create a more inclusive, multilateral institution that contributes to global stability and economic growth, aligning with the leaders’ shared goal of decolonizing economies and addressing climate challenges.

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The BRICS summit in Johannesburg witnessed a pivotal moment with India’s unequivocal backing for the expansion of the group. This move aligns with the evolving global landscape and the BRICS nations’ shared commitment to multilateralism and cooperation. As the summit concluded, the leaders emphasized the need for unity, stability, and the promotion of global development, echoing the sentiment that development should not remain a privilege for a few. This expansion, if realized, could mark a significant step in reshaping international alliances and fostering greater collaboration among emerging economies.

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