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Modi's diplomacy: Law of diminishing returns?

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15.11.2019

Prime Minister Narendra Modi attending the 11th Brics summit in Brasilia, the Brazilian capital, on November 13-14 left most ordinary Indians foxed, and Delhi’s residents irate over a silent and missing leader as they were asphyxiating under a cloud of smog. This group initially comprised four emerging economic powers — Brazil, China, India and Russia — as originally envisioned by Jim O’Neill of Goldman Sachs in 2001 as the four most likely to influence the geo-economics of the early 21st century. South Africa was added, mostly at China’s insistence, in 2011, turning “Bric” into “Brics”. However, in recent years, Jim O’Neill and others like S&P Global Ratings have noted that the group has lost relevance over the diverging long-term growth trajectories of its members. The latest summit has to be viewed against this background.

India’s external affairs minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, delivering the Ramnath Goenka Memorial Lecture in New Delhi as Mr Modi attended the summit, expounding on the Modi government’s arch-realistic foreign policy of multi-alignment, said India sought to “fashion Brics into a major forum”. But his remark ignores that the orientation and internal dynamics of the five members has not remained a constant since its founding. South Africa has still not recovered from the decade-long misrule of former President Jacob Zuma, which ended with his recall in early 2018. Its GDP growth slowed from 1.3 per cent in 2017 to an estimated 0.7 per cent in 2018. It is expected to rise to 1.5 per cent this year. Part of the problem has been the slowdown of the Chinese........

© The Asian Age