BRICS

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden along with world leaders arrive to pay their respect at the Mahatma Gandhi memorial at Raj Ghat on the sidelines of the G20 summit in New Delhi on 10 September, 2023. (PIB/AFP)

China and India are not playing a zero-sum game in the global south

With the announcement of the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor at the recent G20 summit, it could be easy to assume that India has made its strategic decision to join the US-led West to counter China, or that the IMEC is a natural rival to China’s Belt and Road Initiative. But complementary multilateral structures may not be a thing of the past.
Containers are loaded from the railway at the seaport terminal DIT Duisburg Intermodal Terminal at the Duisburg harbour, Germany, on 13 July 2023. With the expansion of rail-bound freight traffic along the "new Silk Road", the port continues to expand its role as a hub or end point of the Silk Road, which connects China and numerous other Asian countries with the Port of Duisburg. (Ina Fassbender/AFP)

Can the US-backed ‘modern spice route’ challenge China’s new Silk Road?

While the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor launched at the recent G20 summit has been touted as a game changer, challenges lie in the way of implementing the plan while China’s ten-year-old BRI continues to be entrenched in global infrastructure networks. EAI senior research fellow Yu Hong shares his views.
People crossing the street in front of the Paramount Global headquarters in Times Square, New York City, 8 August 2023. (Michael M. Santiago/AFP)

The global south and global north: Where does Singapore belong?

Former journalist Goh Choon Kang notes the gap between the global north and global south, with more affluent countries not delivering on promises and commitments made to less developed countries. Is there hope of reconciling the strong and the weak?
A man stands by as a fire rages in a livestock market area in al-Fasher, the capital of Sudan's North Darfur state on 1 September 2023, in the aftermath of bombardment by the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces. (AFP)

China’s African ambition comes with mounting challenges

The recent 15th BRICS summit held in South Africa heralded an expanded organisation with new African members. While China seeks to increase its presence and influence on the African continent, it also faces the difficult task of juggling security and development, particularly given that Russia is likewise adamant about safeguarding and expanding its own interests in the area.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping attend a BRICS summit meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa, on 27 July 2018. (Mike Hutchings/File Photo/Reuters)

Xi Jinping's rare absence from the G20 summit

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s likely absence from the upcoming G20 summit in New Delhi sends a message, amid tensions with India. However, it also means that there is less of an opportunity for China to engage with the US. Does this also mean that China is less interested in talking to the US, or is it leaving that encounter for later at the upcoming APEC summit in San Francisco?
Cyril Ramaphosa, South Africa's president, left, and Xi Jinping, China's president on the closing day of the BRICS summit at the Sandton Convention Center in the Sandton district of Johannesburg, South Africa, on 24 August 2023.  (Leon Sadiki/Bloomberg)

China puts spotlight on global south with BRICS expansion

The diplomatic focus on third world countries during Mao Zedong’s era has taken a renewed form in Xi Jinping’s era with the focus on the global south, notes EAI academic Chen Gang. International circumstances could propel the Chinese to further elevate the importance of the global south, not least with the recent expansion of BRICS to include several global south countries.
Cartoon: Heng Kim Song

ThinkCartoon (31 August)

Heng Kim Song has been the freelance editorial cartoonist

Chinese President Xi Jinping looks on at the China-Africa Leaders' Roundtable Dialogue on the last day of the BRICS Summit, in Johannesburg, South Africa, 24 August 2023. (Alet Pretorius/Pool/Reuters)

BRICS expansion a sign of shifting global governance and security architecture

The world's map of global governance and security architecture is shifting, and BRICS is heeding the call for change, says academic Alessandro Arduino. Countries like Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, who have just been invited to join BRICS, seek to diversify their strategic options. This is in line with China's outreach to the global south and Russia’s need to combat international isolation, but the other BRICS members may have some hesitation.
US President Joe Biden meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G20 leaders' summit in Bali, Indonesia, 14 November 2022. (Kevin Lamarque/File Photo/Reuters)

Instead of seeking support from others, Xi and Biden must meet again

The world appears to be getting more fractured and polarised, with the US and its allies meeting at Camp David recently, and the BRICS summit in Johannesburg issuing invitations for admission to six countries. While both the US and China are building their own alliances and partnerships, now more than ever, they need to improve their direct communication with each other, says US academic Zhu Zhiqun.