In response to a query regarding Pakistan’s absence from the BRICS plus event, spokesperson of Foreign Office said that Pakistan’s participation in BRICS dialogue was ‘blocked by one member’. It was widely speculated that the member of BRICS blocking Pakistan’s participation was India. However, worrying are the reports that the Indian move was backed by China and Russia.
Pakistan aspired to attend the BRICS outreach event for emerging economies that was joined by Algeria, Argentina, Cambodia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Fiji, Indonesia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Senegal, Uzbekistan, Malaysia and Thailand.
However, India through swift and deft diplomacy blocked Pakistan from the event. Reportedly, China being the chair of the event, agreed to India in keeping its ‘all-weather ally’ out from the event. Furthermore, reports suggest that Russia was also in agreement with India and China regarding Pakistan’s participation.
In a statement on Monday, Foreign Office of Pakistan said, “We have noted that this year a ‘High-level Dialogue on Global Development’ was held as a BRICS side event in which a number of developing and emerging economies were invited. Regrettably, one member (of BRICS) blocked Pakistan’s participation.”
Meanwhile, responding to a question regarding the issue, Chinese foreign ministry said that the decision to hold the high-level dialogue was “based on consultation among BRICS countries”. Spokesperson of Chinese Foreign Ministry Zhao Lijian further said that China and Pakistan maintain close communication and coordination. He pointed out the substantial cooperation between the two countries in the field of development, which has delivered tangible benefits to the people of both countries and the region. The Spokesperson also said that China will continue to work with Pakistan to advance the global development agenda. However, China’s stance on the matter of Pakistan’s exclusion from the BRICS plus event was not officially clarified.
The development points to growing rifts in the Pak-China relations which have generally been characterized by friendliness and cooperation. Reportedly China is frustrated with the slow progress of the CPEC projects, for which the government of Pakistan is to blamed as it is criticized for mishandling the country’s economy.
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China hosted the virtually held High-Level Dialogue on Global Development (HLDGD) on June 24. The dialogue was held on the sidelines of the BRICS summit, and it included several non-BRICS members. The meeting is being regarded as a precursor to the expansion of BRICS, a group of emerging economies which is currently comprised of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The High-Level Dialogue on Global Development represented the prospective future members of BRICS, hence absence from it a major blow to Pakistan’s aspirations of joining the group.
However, Pakistan is still hopeful that it will be included in future engagements as the spokesperson of Pakistan’s foreign office said “we do hope that future engagement of the organization would be based on the principles of inclusivity keeping in view the overall interests of the developing world and in a manner that is devoid of narrow geopolitical considerations.”
“We appreciate China’s role in promoting the interests of the developing countries. Together with China, Pakistan has been a strong voice for global peace, shared prosperity and inclusive development. Pakistan is the current chair of G77+China and also part of the group of friends of the Global Development Initiative(GDI)”, the spokesperson added.