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BRICS and the China-India construct: a new world order in making?

Academics and policy experts across the world are trying to comprehend the various dynamics of BRICS, a relatively new arrival on the global scene. Of particular interest is the construct of China-India, two of the most populous societies and dynamic economies. To what extent the two countries accommodate each other’s strategic interests in a rapidly emerging multipolar global order and in various emerging politics have not yet received adequate scholarly attention.

This study aims to scrutinise, evaluate and understand the discourse of BRICS and China’s multilateral drive within the BRICS grouping. The author argues that overall, the two countries do not necessarily have a similar approach to world politics, but they have the identity politics of the developing world, where BRICS remains the apposite forum for policy synchronisation and combined thrust. At the same time, given that national interests override collective wisdom and thinking in world politics, the unity and identity politics that China and India bring to the discourse of BRICS may be merely temporary and ad hoc. China will remain the predominant power in the BRICS formulation. To what extent this will affect the discourse and movement of BRICS will remain a matter of conjecture.

A new world order will always be possible with China-India association, not in China-India isolation or division. Further, India’s rise and prominence within BRICS needs to be recognized by Beijing. China and India also must set an example for BRICS and developing countries on how to maximise and promote collective thinking and common objectives.

The study concludes that there is the need is to assess and review the strength and weakness that both China and India hold towards each other within  BRICS. The identity of BRICS lives more with China-India politics than any other politics, justifying the notion that the world structure is very much multipolar, where both these countries constitute two different poles on their own.