National interests matter
Apropos ‘A China shop,’(August 28), BRICS is a forum which China and Russia are keen to put to use against the West in general and the US in particular. India, though now closer to the US than at any time before, is still being wooed by the two countries. But without India, BRICS would lose whatever independence it can exercise in its deliberations. India’s presence lends the body a veneer of independence and respectability. Also, in the interplay of clashing geopolitical interests, forums such as BRICS can play a useful role provided these are not hijacked for advancing the interests of a dominant member-state China.
However, India finds itself in a good place globally — the Western bloc seeks its friendship while without it, the China-Russia jugalbandi forfeits its claim to fairness and objectivity in these gabfests. We should make the best of this moment to advance our own national interests.
N Sadhasiva Reddy
The economic base within BRICS remains varied. Brazil, Russia and South Africa are highly dependent on raw material/energy exports while China and India are largely manufacture and service centred. This sets up a closed loop for progressive trade within its members. Influx of new members will bring in new problems but newer possibilities, too. If BRICS does gel, the bloc’s growth can be rapid. They may well be frustrated with an omnipotent dollar. Though each BRICS nation has bilateral relations with the US, pragmatic leadership may find an inflexion point.
This decision by BRICS to expand and include six new members could have huge significance for the bloc and these countries as well. Collective might of this group both financially and in terms of huge oil resources can have huge geopolitical bearings. This group can potentially challenge Asian Development Bank and World Bank for their funding needs and if the group decides to do bilateral trades in their own national currencies than the dollar, then it will dramatically change global finance. But nothing should be done to promote China at the cost of India’s strategic interests.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that businesses should focus on improving the purchasing power of people (August 28). One feels it is not likely to happen for the simple reason that producers can be in equilibrium only when they maximise their profits. Moreover, it is the consumers who have to strike a good bargain with producers/sellers while buying commodities to increase their real income and get maximum satisfaction. It’s certainly not the lookout of the producers. Let the laws of supply and demand work to ensure equilibrium in the product market.
Vegetable price swings
This refers to ‘Tears over onions’ (August 28). Potato, onion and tomato are perishables. When prices go up, more farmers turn to these crops, augmenting supply and, in the process, bringing prices down. To avoid supply bottlenecks, there must be a nationwide market to move surplus to the scanty regions with needed cold storage facilities. A digital based building of data on production and distribution of these vegetables will help check the price volatility faced every year.