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BRICS Expansion Finalised as Egypt, Iran, Ethiopia, Argentina, Saudi and UAE Invited To Join

Out of the six countries invited to join the bloc, New Delhi has a strategic partnership – to whom Indian official sources said first preference would be given – with all but Ethiopia.

New Delhi: BRICS nations have expanded the group by inviting six other countries – three from the Gulf, two from Africa and one from Latin America – to be full members on Thursday, August 24.

Announcing the outcome of the BRICS summit in Johannesburg, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said that the leaders had reached a consensus on the expansion guidelines and agreed to the admission of six countries. The leaders had announced on Wednesday that the members had agreed on expansion, which was the main agenda of the 15th summit.

“We have decided to invite the Argentine Republic, the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Federal Republic of Ethiopia, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to become full members of BRICS. The membership will take effect from January 1, 2024,” he said at a joint press appearance with all the five current members on Thursday.

The group evolved from a paper by Goldman Sachs, which gave the term ‘BRIC’ for a group of four developing economies that had the potential to attract substantial investment. The first formal summit of leaders of Brazil, Russia, India and China, was held in Yekaterinburg in Russia in 2009. South Africa joined the group to expand the grouping to BRICS in 2011.

Ramaphosa noted that this was just the first round of expansion of BRICS. “As five BRICS countries, we have reached an agreement on guiding principles standards criteria and procedures of the BRICS expansion process which has been in discussion for quite a while. We have consensus on the first phase of this process and other phases will follow”.

Congratulating the new members, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “India has always supported the expansion of BRICS. India has always believed that adding new members will strengthen BRICS as an organisation.”

Modi walked into the press conference with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Putin, who once again addressed the summit via a video message, congratulated the new members and said the group would work to expand the influence of BRICS in the world. “I am referring to the establishment of practical work with new members of the organisation and with those who will work in the BRICS sphere as outreaches, with our partners who pay attention to each other cooperation with our organization and would like to work with us,” he said, according to a machine translation of his remarks.

At least 22 countries had formally applied to join the grouping, South Africa had revealed in the run-up to the summit.

Also Read: As BRICS Evolves Criteria for Expansion, Here’s What India Thinks of the 22 Countries That Want to Join

Indian official sources said that India’s objective during the negotiations was to give first preference to its “Strategic Partners”.

Out of the six countries invited to join BRICS, India has a strategic partnership with five: Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Iran, UAE and Egypt.

Note: This is a developing story and details will be added as they become available.