BRICS Group Welcomes Six New Members in Landmark Move

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Leaders of the BRICS nations declared a momentous decision on Thursday, announcing the unprecedented admission of six additional countries into their ranks, effectively reshaping the global geopolitical landscape.

The BRICS consortium—comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa—unanimously ratified the inclusion of Argentina, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates as full-fledged members, slated to commence their participation from the onset of the upcoming year.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, at the helm of the group representing a substantial quarter of the world economy, remarked, "This expansion of membership holds profound historical significance, underscoring a seminal juncture for BRICS collaboration. It heralds an era of renewed dynamism within the BRICS cooperation framework, bolstering the impetus for global peace and progress."

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia celebrated the occasion as a pivotal milestone, resonating particularly with the continent's second-most populous nation. "Ethiopia is poised to contribute wholeheartedly to an inclusive and prosperous world order through multifaceted collaboration," Ahmed affirmed via the platform previously referred to as Twitter.

Mohammad Jamshidi, a senior advisor to the President of Iran, characterized the move as "a pivotal advancement and a strategic triumph" for the nation's foreign policy.

Diversity as Strength

Throughout the three-day summit held in Johannesburg, discussions surrounding the expansion of the BRICS consortium took center stage, laying bare divergent perspectives within the bloc on the expeditiousness and scale of incorporating new participants.

However, in accordance with the group's consensus-based decision-making process, the BRICS nations harmonized on the requisites for admission, as articulated by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. This consensus thereby paves the avenue for further augmentation of the coalition's composition.

Close to two dozen countries formally expressed their intent to join the ranks, with an equivalent number displaying keen interest from the expanse known as the "Global South"—a term encapsulating a wide spectrum of non-Western nations.

The summit, attended by more than fifty heads of state and government, underscored the potency of BRICS' message, spotlighting its escalating significance on the global stage.

U.S. officials have tempered concerns over the bloc evolving into a geopolitical adversary, depicting it instead as an assorted assembly encompassing both allies and competitors. The consortium embodies a heterogeneous amalgamation of large and small economies, democratic and autocratic regimes; an array reflected in the aspirants and entrants alike.

Nevertheless, beneath the surface distinctions, BRICS leaders converged in their shared conviction that the prevailing international system disproportionately favors Western powers and institutions, thereby marginalizing the developmental aspirations of emerging economies.

"Bolstering the Struggle for a Fresh Global Order" articulated Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, an ardent proponent of the BRICS development bank as an alternative to the International Monetary Fund and World Bank situated in Washington D.C.

Novel Dimensions Unveiled

Lula underscored that with the accession of the six new nations, BRICS now epitomizes nearly half the global populace and an even more substantial fraction of its economic output.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlighted the profound bonds his country shares with the incoming members, positing, "Through the agency of BRICS, our bilateral cooperation is set to evolve, embracing innovative dimensions."

Founded in 2009 and expanded a year later to include South Africa, the BRICS bloc's ascent has been salient amid the backdrop of escalating geopolitical rivalries. Analysts underscored the potential pivotal significance of the consortium's 15th summit in Johannesburg.

Amid intensifying competition with the United States, China has ardently advocated for an accelerated expansion of BRICS, positioning it as a counterweight to the G7 consortium of affluent democracies and other Western-dominated entities.

South Africa, an advocate of the expansion, found alignment with Russia in this regard, even as President Vladimir Putin, the target of an international arrest warrant, contributed to the summit proceedings via video link.

The Johannesburg summit accentuated the schisms with Western powers over the Ukrainian conflict, spotlighting the BRICS partners' solidarity with Russia despite its international isolation.

Within this context, South Africa, China, and India refrained from denouncing Russia's intervention, while Brazil declined to align with Western nations in arms provision to Ukraine or endorsing sanctions against Moscow.

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