Event ReportsPublished on Mar 14, 2011
ORF publication 'BRIC in the New World Order' was released in South Africa recently. The event was organised by the South African Institute of International Affairs. Its National Director Ms Elizabeth Sidiropoulos introduced the book and delivered the opening remarks. The launch was followed by a round-table discussion.
ORF publication on BRIC released in South Africa
With the objective of exploring linkages with institutes in South Africa and Kenya and facilitating stronger economic and strategic ties between India and these countries by promoting awareness, developing long-term partnerships and creating a platform that would assist institutes and businesses across these geographies to engage with one another, an ORF delegation comprising Mr. Samir Saran, Vice President, ORF, Ambassador H H S Viswanathan, Distinguished Fellow, ORF

During the first leg of the visit to South Africa, the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) organized the launch of ORF publication "BRIC in the New World Order" edited by Mr. Nandan Unnikrishnan and Mr. Samir Saran in Pretoria. Ms. Elizabeth Sidiropoulos, the National Director of SAIIA, introduced the book and delivered the opening remarks at the event, which was extremely well attended by SAIIA faculty, academics, members of the diplomatic corps, representatives from the corporate sector and some senior officers of the South African Foreign Office. The launch was followed by a round-table discussion in two sessions with the theme "Joining the New World Order: Perspectives from the BRICS - Lessons for South Africa."

The key-note address on "BRICS and IBSA: Convergence and Divergence" was given by the Indian High Commissioner, Mr. Virendra Gupta. He spoke of the importance of groupings like BRICS and IBSA in a new multi-polar world. He said that while in IBSA (which has been in existence longer), the threshold of cooperation is to be achieved soon, BRICS still needs more clarity on the structure and mandate on the work programme. He had no doubt that in due course, BRICS would evolve into a very significant forum. The first session was on the South African perspective where Ms. Nelia Barnard, South African Foreign Office, Mr. Simon Freemantle, Analyst, Standard Bank, and Ambassador Dr. Kaire Mbuende, Distinguished Fellow at SAIIA, made presentations on South Africa’s expectations from BRICS -- both from the political and business perspective. They also touched on the question of how South Africa is preparing for its role as a BRICS member and how could South Africa benefit from the arrangement. Ms. Nelia Barnard, Director in the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, spoke on the perspective of the South African government and added that considerable diplomatic effort was put in even at the level of the Head of State for ensuring South Africa’s entry into BRICS. They are keen to make a positive contribution to the functioning of the organisation. 

The second session concentrated on the Indian, Brazilian, Russian and Chinese perspectives and was initiated by Mr. Samir Saran who described the evolution of the BRIC process and the role of Think Tanks in India, Russia, Brazil and China in shaping the agenda. Citing from the book, Mr. Saran informed the audience that nearly two years to the day, Ambassador M Rasgotra, President of the ORF Centre for International Relations, while inaugurating the BRIC Track II event in New Delhi, had urged for the inclusion of South Africa in the group and ORF was particularly delighted that this has now come about. He also spoke on some of the current concerns of the BRIC countries within the grouping and the group dynamics that would alter significantly with the participation of South Africa.

Ambassador Viswanathan spoke on the separate roles for IBSA and BRICS and reiterated that the relevance of IBSA remains intact even with South Africa joining the BRIC and, in fact, IBSA, which is a grouping of three democracies, could contribute to the agenda of the BRICS as well. Each of the sessions was followed by lively discussions and Q&A with the speakers.

The Consul General of  India hosted a dinner for the Indian delegation and the SAIIA faculty on March 2 at Johannesburg.

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