Scenarios for BRICS Evolution in Light of the India–China Conflict / Mihaela Papa and Raj Verma

Author: Mihaela Papa and Raj Verma

What is the future of the BRICS (Brazil–Russia–India–China–South Africa) group? BRICS has transformed in record time from a global non-entity into an informal institution that pursues global policy leadership, features extensive policy coordination among five powerful countries, and creates its own organizations. While BRICS momentum seemed unstoppable, a militarized dispute between India and China in 2020 raised questions about the group’s future. This contribution concludes the Special Section by arguing that the BRICS group is not broken. Instead, it faces a range of strategic, geopolitical and operational challenges: how it addresses them will define its future trajectory and its impact on global governance. This essay analyses the situation from a conflict resolution perspective while bringing together insights from the five BRICS countries. It conceptualizes new directions for the BRICS group. Two possible internal conflict management scenarios are outlined: circumventing conflict and making institutional adjustments. Yet the real test of the group’s resilience is its ability to exert collective leadership and improve global governance. BRICS’ response to COVID-19 and to the challenge of sustainable development offers insights into the group’s ability to advance community goals.

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