Modi to Participate Virtually in BRICS Summit

Modi to Participate Virtually in BRICS Summit, Signaling Shift in Diplomatic Approach.Civil Unrest Concerns: Navigating India's Worst Political Landscape
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In a significant diplomatic move, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to participate virtually in the upcoming BRICS summit in South Africa. The decision to attend the August 22-24 summit of leaders from Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa virtually, rather than in person, comes amid reservations India holds about the potential expansion of the BRICS group.

This shift in diplomatic approach highlights the growing discomfort in New Delhi regarding its involvement in groupings where China holds significant dominance, as India strengthens its ties with the United States and other Western powers. This blog delves into the implications of India’s virtual participation and its changing dynamics with other BRICS nations.

India’s Virtual Participation in BRICS

According to sources in New Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is unlikely to travel to Johannesburg for the BRICS summit and will instead participate virtually. The official reason for this decision remains undisclosed, with both the foreign ministry and the prime minister’s office declining to comment on the matter. This move aligns with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s earlier decision to attend the summit virtually, showcasing a significant shift in the BRICS summit’s format.

India’s Reservations about BRICS Expansion

China and Russia have expressed their interest in discussing the expansion of BRICS during the summit. However, India appears to have reservations about this idea. The country’s hesitation may be attributed to concerns about the implications of a potential expansion and the need to balance its interests within the bloc. As India forges closer ties with the United States and other Western powers, it is carefully evaluating its role in multilateral groupings where China holds significant influence. The recent shift towards virtual participation may reflect India’s efforts to assert its position while avoiding confrontations with other BRICS members on sensitive issues.

India’s Changing Dynamics with China and Russia

India’s relations with China have been strained since the deadly border clash in 2020, which resulted in casualties on both sides. As New Delhi inches closer to the United States and other Western powers, it is reassessing its engagements with China and Russia, especially in groupings like BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), where China’s influence is dominant. By participating virtually in the BRICS summit, India might be signalling its cautious approach towards the bloc, focusing on safeguarding its interests and ensuring a balanced diplomatic stance.

Divergent Approaches to International Issues

While India has been hesitant to condemn Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, it has concurrently expanded trade relations with Moscow, particularly in the energy sector. This approach has at times frustrated Western capitals that expected India to take a stronger stance on the geopolitical situation. India’s strategic engagement with multiple global powers indicates its pursuit of a nuanced foreign policy, balancing its interests in different contexts.

India’s Leadership in International Forums

Despite the reservations and dilemmas, India continues to assert its leadership role in international forums. As the current president of the G20, India is set to host a summit of its leaders in September, providing the country with an opportunity to shape global agendas and discussions on key issues. This role allows India to exhibit its diplomatic prowess and influence on the international stage, contributing to its status as a key player in global affairs.


India’s decision to participate virtually in the BRICS summit signifies a diplomatic shift in its approach towards multilateral groupings, especially where China holds significant dominance. As the country strengthens its ties with Western powers and balances its interests in various geopolitical contexts, it seeks to maintain a cautious yet influential stance in international affairs. The virtual participation in the BRICS summit provides India with a platform to express its views, engage with other member nations, and safeguard its interests while carefully navigating the complex geopolitical landscape.

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