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BRICS set to play larger role in global economic development, security: expert

By Will Koulouris (Xinhua)    13:22, August 24, 2017

With the 9th annual BRICS summit less than two weeks away, a world-renowned global BRICS expert based in Australia said the member nations are primed to step into the leading position in worldwide leadership.

David Thomas, chief executive officer of Think Global, a Sydney-based consultant firm, spoke exclusively to Xinhua on Thursday that the BRICS nations are "stepping into the vacuum of global leadership" that has been created by the withdrawal of the countries, particularly those in the West, previously associated with worldwide leadership.

"The fact that the BRICS want to take over investments through the institutions that they are establishing, to take some of the decision-making away from the United States, and played the part that they can in building the next phase of globalisation -- the importance of governance that sits behind that, is very significant," Thomas said.

This year's summit will be hosted in the seaside city of Xiamen in southeast China's Fujian province, and with leaders from member countries and other nations around the globe set to attend. Thomas said the biggest achievement for the yearly summit since its inception is the way that has brought countries together.

"They are (BRICS) very different countries with very different historical backgrounds, and cultures, and histories -- so the fact that they actually meet as a group every year, not just the leaders, but many other parts of their leadership teams is very significant," Thomas said.

One of the key ways these nations will be able to further their cooperation, according to Thomas, is through the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, a grand plan to connect Asia with Europe and Africa along, and beyond, ancient trade routes by putting in place an unparalleled trade and infrastructure network.

Thomas believed that the Belt and Road Initiative is a "great example" of the kind of global undertaking that the BRICS nations can participate in, and benefit mutually from, and said that the feels that this initiative could be a common bond shared by the member countries to encourage global harmony.

"The BRICS can come together, and particularly Russia, India, and China -- as big players in the Belt and Road Initiative. Brazil can, of course, provide lots of resources and support, and I think that we will probably hear a lot about that."

However, that same harmony between countries is being tested by increasing conflict around the world, according to Thomas, and he hopes that what he sees as "angst" from Western countries about the BRICS nations can be solved through demonstrating the immense potential for "win-win" partnerships between the BRICS and other nations globally.

"It now comes down to the leadership, and if the BRICS leaders can step into that vacuum and show true leadership, and can develop harmony so that it doesn't become a zero sum game - if everybody can win together, it could contribute to global harmony."

Asides from the vast positive economic potential to come out of the upcoming BRICS summit, Thomas said that he believes the BRICS nations should also turn their attention to stepping up their role on the global security front - a role he feels they are uniquely placed to achieve success.

"There is no question that the world is not a safer place as it was 10 years ago," Thomas said.

"I think that in the last 10 years we have seen an increase in terrorism, we have seen the unraveling of the Middle East, and all the pressures but that's putting on Western countries. At a very fundamental level, the BRICS leaders need to step into the void and provide some leadership around global security."

Thomas said he sees this year's summit as a "tipping point", with the rise of protectionism taking hold in major markets like the United States, Britain, and parts of Europe, and hopes that as the BRICS leaders meet in Xiamen in September, that the message of free-market globalization can ring out around the world, and create opportunities for worldwide prosperity.

"The BRICS have to step into this vacuum, they have to give some clear direction about what they see is the future of globalisation," Thomas said.

"I think if they can get this message right, we could see this summer as being an important step in the future of the global economy."

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Chen Lidan, Bianji)

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