Shift in global balance of economic power underway, says Menon

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New Delhi, May 13 (ANI): Guessing that the world is today on the cusp of a new type of multipolarity, Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon today said that an unavoidable shift in the balance of economic power is underway and BRIC, the grouping of Brazil, Russia, India and China, can hope to be a factor of growth and stability in the world economy for decades to come.

Addressing a pre-BRIC Summit preparatory meeting organised by the Observer Research Foundation (ORF), a New Delhi based think tank, Menon said he believed the role of BRIC countries in the global economy would increase further and further.

The two-day meeting is being attended by teams of experts from Brazil, Russia, India and China and it would come up recommendations for these countries which would be meeting in June this year in Yekaterinburg at the first BRIC Summit.

"As the global economy evolves and works its way through the present global financial and economic crisis, the BRIC are a factor of stability and growth. This was already evident in our role during the G-20 deliberations," Menon said in his inaugural address.

He said increasingly the world itself is coming to espouse views that we share among the BRIC countries.

"For instance, it is now widely appreciated that globalization, development and economic processes cannot be left solely to the mercies of an unregulated free market," Menon said.

It is becoming clearer and clearer that international decision-making on global economic issues must necessarily be democratized to reflect present realities, he said, adding that global flows of goods, people and capital and the development and dissemination of technology have eroded the autonomy and authority of the state, the old order and old geopolitical realities.

"What we see is a situation where the major powers simultaneously compete and cooperate with each other, each with all others, to a greater or lesser degree," he said.

Menon said the shift we are witnessing is probably towards a flatter distribution of power in the world. And this shift is hastened by the geopolitical consequences of the global economic crisis.

"Unlike previous financial crises which were handled within the closed shop of the G-7 industrialized countries, this crisis is sought to be addressed in the G-20 which includes all the BRIC countries," he said.

"Existing power holders are always reluctant to share or lose power. This fact alone therefore shows that an unavoidable shift in the balance of economic power is underway, and that the international role of the BRIC countries will increase further," Menon said.

Saying BRIC is already the buzz word around the world, the Ambassador of China, Mr. Zhang Yan, said Brazil, Russia, India and China should join together to fight the global economic crisis with interesting and innovative ideas.

Describing BRIC as the guardian of developing countries and so the common interests of these countries, Zhang Yan suggested that meeting like this should become a regular feature in future to institutionalize the framework.

He said BRIC, which can become a good platform for achieving consensus, is in the long term interests of all the four countries and also other developing countries. He said he was sure BRIC would achieve greater influence in world affairs.

Brazilian Deputy Chief of Mission, Jose Carlos Fonseca Jr., described BRIC as "a good idea whose time is coming". He said Brazil is very much interested in strengthening the cooperation between the BRIC countries.

M. Rasgotra, President of ORF Centre for International Relations, said there is a shift of gravity from the West to Asia, and India and China, being big powers in this continent, has a new role to play in the global affairs.

Saying that BRIC countries account for 40 per cent of the world population and 37 per cent of the GDP, Rasgotra said "if we work together, we can make a change in the world order".

He wondered that is it not proper to include South Africa too in this grouping to make it more powerful and inclusive of developing countries. He also suggested institutionalizing BRIC with a proper secretariat.

The meeting at ORF is discussing aspects like "Institutionalizing the BRICs Engagement", "BRICS: The Global Financial Crisis and the New Global Financial Architecture", "Energy Security and Climate Change" and "Cooperation in Trade and Industry". (ANI)

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