Brazil, China and India, prominently among foreign heads of state and government, that received New Year greetings from Vladimir Putin late December. The official post made available on the Kremlin administration website never mentioned South Africa. As well known, these four countries plus Russia constitute the organization popularly referred to as BRICS.
Addressing the President of the Federative Republic of Brazil, Putin expressed satisfaction with the fact that, during the presidency of Jair Bolsonaro, Moscow and Brasilia extensively cooperated at international platforms, especially within BRICS, and successfully advanced the friendly bilateral relationship.
In messages to President of the Republic of India Droupadi Murmu and Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, the President of Russia stressed that in 2022, Russia and India marked the 75th anniversary of the diplomatic relations and, relying on positive traditions of friendship and mutual respect, the countries continue to develop their specially privileged strategic partnership, carry out large-scale trade and economic projects.
In addition, both Russia and India closely cooperate on energy, military technology and other areas, and further coordinate efforts in addressing important matters of regional and global agendas.
“I am confident that India’s recently started SCO and G20 presidencies will open new opportunities for building multi-dimensional Russia-India cooperation for the benefit of our peoples, in the interests of strengthening stability and security in Asia and the entire world,” Putin stressed in his message.
In sincere greetings for the New Year and the upcoming Spring Festival to President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping, Putin referred to strengthening the comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation between Russia and China. The mutual patnership demonstrates rapid progress and resistance to external challenges, as both continue to maintain a meaningful political dialogue.
Putin was upbeat on a number of points. Bilateral trade is breaking records. Major trans-border infrastructure projects have been completed, including the construction of a road and railway bridges across the Amur River. The years of physical fitness and sports exchanges contributed substantially to contacts between the people of our countries. “Through joint efforts, we will be able to take bilateral cooperation even higher for the benefit of the Russian and Chinese nations and in the interests of strengthening regional and global stability and security,” he stressed.
Putin expressed confidence that they will work together to further enhance multi-dimensional cooperation and continue their coordinated work on bilateral basis and within the framework of BRICS.
In 2023, South Africa will hold the rotating presidency of BRICS. And that implies that South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has a lot more at hand, especially with the current global geopolitical changes, has work towards consolidating the growing support underway for a few countries that have applied to join BRICS. It is also pushing for the emerging multipolar world.
It is however speculated that the organization’s membership might expand to about 15, but that largely depends on certain necessary conditions and the collective decision of the organization.
Historically, the first meeting of the group began in St Petersburg in 2005. It was called RIC, which stood for Russia, India and China. Then later, Brazil joined and finally, South Africa in February 2011, which is why now it is referred to as BRICS. The acronym BRICS is derived from the members’ names in English. The BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) collectively represent about 42% of the world’s population.