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Saideswara Rao asked: Is E-BRICS proposal viable at present?

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  • Jagannath P. Panda replies: ‘E-BRICS’ was proposed by the Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi during his recent trip to India. The Egyptian president expressed his country’s desire to join the multilateral grouping, comprising Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS), in order to streamline the Egyptian economy. Egypt is currently undergoing a massive economic and political transition, and is looking for international support and assistance from a range of countries to help revive its economy and sustain the ongoing democratisation process.

    With the conclusion of the recent Durban summit, BRICS has just finished holding the first cycle of leadership summits in each of the member countries. BRICS still is in the early stages of institutionalisation, and lacks formal rules and norms for induction of new members to further expand the grouping. Entry of Egypt into BRICS at this point of time may not be a viable idea as the Egyptian economy too is in the initial stages of transition and is not in the same league as other BRICS economies are. Besides, Egyptian entry would also compel BRICS to consider inclusion of other countries, like Indonesia, Mexico, etc. as well. Notably, none of the BRICS declarations so far have discussed in concrete terms the inclusion of any new member. BRICS needs to consolidate its current agenda, action plans and internal processes, before accepting or inducting new members.