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The Asia-Pacific Report

Sameera Casmod |
31 August 2023 | 09:21am SAST
2-min read

Picture: University of Newcastle

Photo: University of Newcastle

In this week’s Asia-Pacific Report with Sanusha Naidu, a range of topics was discussed including the expansion of BRICS, strategic partnerships, border tensions, and technological achievements.

One of the focal points of the BRICS summit was the expansion of the group, with six countries – Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Iran, Ethiopia, and Argentina – being invited to become full members by January 2024. Naidu highlighted the significance of this expansion, particularly the inclusion of countries from the West Asian context. She noted that China and India, as key members of BRICS, seemed to be looking towards the West, reflecting the evolving dynamics in the Middle East and value chains.

Naidu emphasised the importance of bilateral discussions between leaders on the sidelines of the summit. The comprehensive strategic partnership between South Africa and China resulted in over 20 MoUs and frameworks being signed. Notably, China committed to assisting South Africa in addressing load shedding, a critical issue for the nation. These bilateral engagements showcased that the summit was not solely focused on expansion, but also on strategic partnerships and cooperation in various areas.

The absence of Indonesia from the list of invited countries for BRICS expansion raised questions. Naidu provided insights into Indonesia’s decision, explaining that the country’s current role as the head of ASEAN and potential geostrategic implications were influencing factors. Additionally, there were suggestions of possible pressure from the U.S. and defence negotiations impacting Indonesia’s stance.

Naidu discussed the informal meeting between Indian Prime Minister Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping. This interaction aimed at de-escalating border tensions was noteworthy. The discussion highlighted the complexities of Indo-China relations and the efforts to manage geopolitical security questions. However, the meeting faced criticism from some quarters within India, particularly due to concerns surrounding territorial disputes.

“…this week we see that there’s been a map that has been issued which shows that China has taken some territory or some of the border areas and it shows us it’s part of the Chinese territory and that’s causing a lot of tension and a lot of negativity and provocation in India.”

A significant highlight of the summit was India’s successful moon landing. The Indian space vehicle landing on the moon’s south pole was a moment of pride for the Indian delegation and the nation. This achievement underscored India’s advancements in space research and technology. The recognition of India’s space mission as a key area of cooperation within BRICS further solidified its importance on the global stage.

Listen to the Asia-Pacific Report on Sabaahul Muslim with Moulana Sulaiman Ravat.


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