India’s hope of support from new members of the BRICS bloc for its candidature as a permanent member of the UN Security Council may not be readily fulfilled as countries such as Egypt and Ethiopia don’t seem to be ready to fall in line with expectations, sources tracking the matter have said.

“When new members were admitted to the BRICS grouping last year, a formula was introduced suggesting that all new members should agree to the aspirations of India, Brazil and South Africa for becoming permanent members of the UNSC. But some of the new members, such as Egypt and Ethiopia, are now protesting against it as they themselves are aspirants for UNSC membership,” a source tracking the matter told businessline.

In August 2023, the BRICS grouping, comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, was expanded with invitations issued to include five new members–Egypt, Iran, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Ethiopia. They were formally inducted into the BRICS bloc in January 2024.

“Last year, when the existing BRICS members were discussing conditions under which new members were to be inducted, it was decided that support to UNSC reforms, including supporting the candidature of India, Brazil and South Africa as permanent members, would be one of the guidelines for joining,” the source said.

In fact, the Johannesburg declaration 2023, issued after the BRICS Summit, named Brazil, India and South Africa, while endorsing UNSC reforms through expanded representation of developing countries.

“We support a comprehensive reform of the UN, including its Security Council, with a view to making it more democratic, representative, effective and efficient, and to increase the representation of developing countries in the Council’s memberships so that it can adequately respond to prevailing global challenges and support the legitimate aspirations of emerging and developing countries from Africa, Asia and Latin America, including Brazil, India and South Africa, to play a greater role in international affairs, in particular in the United Nations, including its Security Council,” the Johannesburg declaration said.

But some of the new members are not agreeing to support India, Brazil and South Africa exclusively for UNSC membership as they say that the condition was never mentioned to them in black and white. “Now it turns out that the letter that was officially sent to them on the terms, conditions and guidelines for their accession to BRICS did not explicitly call for support for India, Brazil and South Africa.  New members like Egypt and Ethiopia are saying that they are also legitimate aspirants to be UNSC member and could not agree to just support three countries,” the official said.

It will thus be a challenge for the three countries and Russia, which will host the BRICS Summit in Kazan in October 2024, to bring new members on board, so that a common position on UNSC reform and expanded membership can be incorporated in the joint declaration.

UNSC reforms and expansion of its membership, with India as a permanent member, continues to be one of India’s key priorities in all its bilateral and multilateral engagements including at the highest levels, according to the Ministry of External Affairs.

“A fresh assessment of the members’ stand on UNSC reforms and membership will be made at the BRICS Foreign Ministers meet in Nizhny Novgorod next month,” the source added.