ISLAMABAD: In a historic first, Pakistan received an invitation to attend a BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa) seminar in Johannesburg ahead of the bloc’s meeting, The News reported Thursday.
Islamabad’s participation in the seminar was encouraged by Beijing, which wants to integrate Pakistan into the alliance, and XI Jinping’s efforts in this regard continue.
BRICS brings together five developing nations, representing 41% of the global population, and 24% of the global GDP.
In a statement from Johannesburg, Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed wrote: “Addressed BRICS Seminar in Johannesburg, just before BRICS Summit tomorrow, the first Pakistani to be invited at BRICS event, which is a growing body that now has 20 countries in queue for membership”
He further wrote: “[Pakistan has] welcomed BRICS expansion [and] urged BRICS to reject any New Cold War! Afro-Asian solidarity plus Brazil & Russia can play [a] key role in new emerging global order, based on multilateralism & regional connectivity.”
Moreover, it appears that India’s opposition to Pakistan joining the bloc is dying down — it has succeeded in the past to keep Pakistan out of the bloc.
On Tuesday, according to media reports, for the first time, Indian Prime Minister Modi has talked about BRICS expansion, and statements from the Indian Ministry of External Affairs mention India’s position, including its support for expansion.
Keeping this shift in mind, Senator Mushahid tweeted: “For starters, Pakistan should apply for membership in BRICS, where lead role is of China (if Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, Egypt & UAE are keen to join, why not Pakistan?)
“Then in East Asia there’s Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), again China is in the lead there, but Pakistan isn’t ‘Looking East’!Why? Somewhat inexplicable, not seizing opportunities when these arise,” he added.
On Tuesday, according to media reports, for the first time, Indian Prime Minister Modi talked about BRICS expansion, and even statements from the Indian Ministry of External Affairs mention India’s position, including its support for expansion.
Modi’s remarks for expansion were also welcomed by the South African president, who remarked, “Delighted to hear India supporting expansion of the BRICS”.
This development comes as China argues that the BRICS coalition should expand its membership to include more developing nations, using this rationale to advocate for Pakistan’s inclusion.
Speaking at the BRICS summit, China’s Xi Jinping remarked, “Some country, obsessed with maintaining its hegemony, has gone out of its way to cripple the emerging markets and developing countries. Whoever is developing fast becomes its target of containment; whoever is catching up becomes its target of obstruction. But this is futile, as I have said more than once that blowing out others’ lamp will not bring light to oneself.”
Apart from Pakistan, other nations, including Turkey and Saudi Arabia, expressed their interest in joining the bloc, a point raised at the Johannesburg summit.
Pakistan has maintained without naming India that one country is trying to keep it out of the bloc. Pakistan also expressed the resolve that it was ready to stand with all developing countries, including the BRICS members, to address the challenges faced by the global community.
Last year, the Foreign Office maintained, “We do hope that future engagement of the organisation would be based on the principles of inclusivity keeping in view the overall interests of the developing world and in a manner that is devoid of narrow geo-political considerations.”
Following a debate between BRICS leaders on the alliance’s expansion,as per the draft final document of the summit, Argentina, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirateswill be new BRICS members.