Conflicts, Strategic Divergences and the Survival of Economic Groupings: Will China–India Rivalry Kill the BRICS?

About the Presenter

Dr. Md. Rizwanul Islam

Department of Law

and Center for Peace Studies, NSU


This article probes the viability and survival of BRICS in the context of intensified China–India conflicts and strategic divergences. It argues that occasional eruptions of tensions in China–India relations, underpinned by their 1962 border war, threaten BRICS’ operational capacities and ultimate survival. The article shows that the threats originate from both countries’ counter-strategies to outperform and outbid each other in a number of critical geopolitical areas, most importantly South Asia and the Indian Ocean Region. The absence of liberal institutional geoeconomic strategies in their bilateral relations to generate meaningful cooperation further exacerbates their conflicts with negative consequences for BRICS. It presents a three-pronged policy action agenda to make BRICS a functional and effective new economic grouping of the Global South – institutional reforms and expansion, a shift from geopolitical to liberal institutional geo-economic strategies of cooperation, and a coordinated policy approach to global political and economic issues. Methodologically, the article applies a qualitative approach to examine the threats to and the future survival of BRICS using published literatures, policy statements by leaders and available internet-based resources.