By Anwar Iqbal
The recent announcement by the Foreign Ministry of Pakistan regarding its application to join the BRICS group marks a significant geopolitical development. As the decision now rests with the existing BRICS members, including Pakistan’s historical rival, India. The move underscores Islamabad’s recognition of the group’s escalating influence amid rapidly evolving regional and global geopolitics. This article delves into the implications, challenges, and potential outcomes of Pakistan’s bid for BRICS membership.
Formed in 2010 with Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa as its founding members, BRICS has evolved into a formidable force. The decision to expand, with six new members set to join in 2024, reflects the group’s active efforts to enhance its influence. With objectives encompassing economic cooperation and political collaboration, BRICS aims to elevate the global status of its member nations.
Pakistan’s Strategic Decision
Pakistan’s decision to seek BRICS membership aligns with the group’s expanding influence. This move signifies Islamabad’s eagerness to engage more proactively with emerging global power centers. The timing of the application is crucial, coinciding with the group’s ongoing efforts to broaden its reach. Acknowledging BRICS’ growing influence, Pakistan sees an opportunity to play a vital role in fostering international cooperation and inclusive multilateralism.
Historical tensions between Delhi and Islamabad add a layer of complexity to the membership bid. India, a key BRICS member, had previously blocked Pakistan from joining as an observer. Now, Pakistan seeks full membership, emphasizing inclusiveness within the group. India’s response to Pakistan’s potential admission is a critical consideration, and the diplomatic maneuvers between the two nations within BRICS will shape the outcome.
Diplomatic Maneuvers and Alliances
In pursuit of support, Pakistan is actively engaging with existing BRICS members, with a particular emphasis on Russia and China. The longstanding alliance with China, BRICS member and a strategic partner, is crucial. Pakistan is also looking to garner support from Russia, which will host the next BRICS summit. The level of enthusiasm from Moscow could be a decisive factor in Pakistan’s membership bid.
While BRICS primarily focuses on economic cooperation, challenges exist within the group. The expansion with the inclusion of six additional nations presents both opportunities and dilemmas. The group operates more as an informal annual gathering than a cohesive force, with member nations often adopting opposing stances. The effectiveness of BRICS in reshaping global governance will hinge on its ability to cultivate consensus.
Potential Implications for Pakistan
BRICS membership holds economic benefits for Pakistan, allowing the nation to foster trade ties and participate in the collective development of the region. However, Pakistan faces challenges, including its economic crisis. BRICS, primarily a group of emerging economies, may scrutinize Pakistan’s economic struggles. The approval of Pakistan’s membership would unlock opportunities for trade, investments, and political backing.
As BRICS considers more than 40 countries expressing interest, the group faces a dilemma of inclusion. Pakistan, if admitted, would potentially be the weakest member economically. BRICS can afford to be selective, and the decision on Pakistan’s membership will be closely watched. The group’s expansion presents geopolitical significance, impacting not only South Asia but the global balance of power.
As the 2024 BRICS summit approaches, the potential outcomes of Pakistan’s bid remain uncertain. The decision by existing members, particularly India, will shape the geopolitical landscape. Pakistan’s strategic move to navigate BRICS membership reflects its aspirations on the global stage. The final verdict at the summit will determine not only Pakistan’s role in BRICS but also its impact on regional and global dynamics.