Indonesia, Hosting The G20 Next Month, Is Also Eying BRICS Membership

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Geopolitical Bets Are Being Hedged As Countries Begin To Align Away From The G7’s Sphere Of Influence

By Chris Devonshire-Ellis

Indonesia may fully join the BRICS format (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa), the country’s ambassador to Russia, Jose Tavares has said.

“I hear my president speak for full membership into the (BRICS) integration. There is a possibility for Indonesia to fully join BRICS.” he said.

Jakarta has to discuss the country’s future role in the integration, weighing everything, after which the government would take its decision, Tavares stated. Speaking about the advantages that Indonesia sees for itself in BRICS membership, Tavares mentioned joining its development bank (NDB) as one of pluses. The NDB makes investment decisions based on the votes of its members and does not follow, or possess any EU and US political interference in its lending programmes, an issue that has been a thorn within World Bank and IMF policies. Russian Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko has also said that Indonesia wants to join the BRICS format.

Saudi Arabia has additionally expressed interest in joining, as have Argentina, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, the UAE, Senegal, and Thailand, all of whom, together with Indonesia, and Saudi, sent their foreign ministers to the most recent BRICS Foreign Ministerial summit, held at the end of May. Algeria and Nicaragua have indicated interest in joining this past few weeks.

None of the current BRICS members are part of the G7, which includes the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan. Representatives from the European Union also attend. The G7 nations were responsible for ushering in the concept of the G20, ‘like-minded’ nations whose economies were also becoming, and have now become significant. That however was when globalization was the underlying political aim of the United States, a concept whose future is today far less certain.

Of the upcoming G20 summit to be held in Bali, Indonesia on 15-16 November, all BRICS nations are involved, Brazil, China, India and Russia directly and with South Africa being part of the African Union delegation. The BRICS therefore would provide a window to global trade and cooperation for the proposed new members. It could also evolve, alongside the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, into a more significantly structured entity to counter-balance the G7 and possibly the G20 as well.

This is partially because the G20 nations in 2009 declared themselves as the “primary venue for international economic and financial cooperation” a statement that can be seen in hindsight as rendering immaterial, or bypassing the problems of the non-G20 nations – a further 177 countries or de facto states.

This in turn means that the Bali Summit this year is taking on a greater significance as part of the focus will be on the attempted dividing of this into pro G7 camp, led by the United States, and pro multi-polar camps, some of whom may face divided loyalties (such as India) and may not wish to commit to one or the other – a stance generally taken in Asia and the ASEAN members states such as Indonesia in particular. Clearly, the stage is set for some pushback against the G7 and potentially lead to divisions within the G20. In which case, the BRICS grouping will face name-changing issues as an emerging bloc to pick up increasing numbers of multi-lateral minded nations.

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