Think tanks from the BRICS nations on Thursday encouraged the mechanism to expand from the economic arena, three weeks before state leaders of the five emerging economies meet in China for their annual summit.
 
It is inevitable that the BRICS nations – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – will discuss wider issues rather than just talk about business and trade, said Liu Youfa, vice-president of the China Institute of International Studies.
 
"The five countries have the common purpose of seeking development and prosperity. Such cooperation will, as it deepens, lead to other fields besides business and trade," Liu said at a two-day symposium for more than 60 experts from top think tanks from the five BRICS nations.
 
He said that at next month’s BRICS summit in Sanya, in China’s southern island of Hainan, the five countries will seek to establish a coordination mechanism.
 
"It may not be called a secretariat, but it will be an expert-level coordination body," he said.
 
Coordination between the BRICS nations currently takes places through bodies such as embassies and academic institutions, Liu said.
 
Sun Jiazheng, vice-chairman of the 11th National Committee of Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, China’s top political advisory body, said the think tank symposium will provide policy suggestions to the leaders at the April summit, where South Africa will make its debut in the mechanism.
 
Former Indian ambassador to France and Germany T.C.A. Rangachari said if the BRICS nations want to have an effect globally, they will have to broaden their cooperation to other fields.
 
"You can’t simply do it on the basis of business and investment. You have to have a global view, and we have that."
 
But it is too early to expect BRICS to show multiple capabilities, said Guan Guihai, associate dean of the School of International Studies at Peking University.
 
But he expressed optimism about its potential.
 
"BRICS is a gathering of the most vital economies around the world. It is an open and inclusive organization," he said.
 
SOURCE: China Daily
 
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