Srikanth Kondapalli / Role of BRICS group growing in global governance

NEW DELHI, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- The BRICS bloc grouping Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa has gained certain momentum in its cooperation and growth, seeing its influence increase at both the regional and international levels, an Indian expert has said.

"In the last eight (annual) summits, BRICS has acquired certain momentum in international relations," said Srikanth Kondapalli, professor at the Center for East Asia Studies of the New Delhi-based Jawaharlal Nehru University.

"It has advocated dialogue and peaceful resolution of disputes, in addition to lifting any curbs on trade and investments," he said in an interview with Xinhua on Sunday.

As the bloc's five emerging economies "are getting integrated in the global economy, it has advocated certain balance in dealing with the Western countries and the institutions such as the IMF (International Monetary Fund)/World Bank or universally accepted norms," the Indian expert added.

"It tries to protect the interests of developing countries," he noted.

Macroeconomic stability, institutional effectiveness and openness are among the factors that enable the bloc to attract global attention and to play a larger role in global governance and growth, according to the expert.

"Formation of BRICS and the regular summit meetings and the pronouncements so far have provided scope for expanding its influence at the global and regional levels," Kondapalli noted.

The BRICS mechanisms have so far prompted within its framework cooperation in many areas such as trade and investment, with joint efforts also expected in fighting terrorism and climate change.

The Indian expert cited the bloc's New Development Bank, which was launched in 2015 to work with a focus on infrastructure and sustainable development projects, as key to increasing intra-BRICS investment flows, so as to reduce the bloc's financial dependency on international lenders.

The establishment of a BRICS rating agency which Kondapalli said is likely to be proposed at the upcoming BRICS summit scheduled for September in the southeast Chinese city of Xiamen will further help boost economic growth of BRICS member countries.

Noting that investment flows are conditioned partly by the estimates of credit rating agencies, he said, "The three main global credit rating agencies -- Standard & Poor's, Fitch and Moody's -- have in the recent times downgraded many of the BRICS economies. This has affected investment flows and business sentiments."

The BRICS bloc has been contributing increasingly more to global governance, according to the expert, who said it has been "trying to shape discourse on just global governance structures."

"With the BRICS demands, many of the global governance structures are undergoing a gradual reform," he said.

For example, "the BRICS has been highly critical of the voting shares in the IMF/World bank. After the 2010 reorganization efforts, in 2015, the voting rights of China and India were increased in the IMF, although only marginally."

"There is also the collective pressure that BRICS is exerting through the G20 (Group of 20 major economies), the WTO (World Trade Organization) and other mechanisms in opposing trade protectionist trends," the Indian expert noted.

On an outward expansion of the bloc, Kondapalli cited a growing interest in the "BRICS +" idea coinciding with a desire of countries like Indonesia, Turkey, Egypt, Nigeria and Argentina to associate with the bloc, while stressing there are reservations on this issue for the fear, among other reasons, that the bloc might lose its flavor.