Why didn't Indonesia and Bangladesh receive BRICS membership during the August 2023 BRICS summit?

What criteria did they fail to fulfill as opposed to the other six countries that received membership?

  • 1
    Just curious; did Indonesia and Bangladesh apply for membership? Did they want it?
    – uhoh
    Commented Aug 26, 2023 at 23:07
  • 4
    @uhoh They are among 16 countries listed as having formally applied for BRICS membership, not including the six that have already been accepted.
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Aug 26, 2023 at 23:25
  • 2
    As far as I can tell, there isn't a set of criteria that once objectively met you are sure to receive membership. The only criteria for joining is "the others want you to join" So the question then becomes "what's in it for the five existing members?" With the addition of 6 new members, the dynamics of meetings changes (5 can work by unanimity, 11 may require voting)
    – James K
    Commented Aug 27, 2023 at 21:31
  • @JamesK but the six are joining. The question is about an additional two: why are six joining, not eight? So the comparison isn't between five and eleven; it's between eleven and thirteen.
    – phoog
    Commented Aug 28, 2023 at 8:35
  • Yes, but my idle speculation is that there aren't a set of criteria. It is the whim of the members. Perhaps Russia wanted Iran, and China would only agree if they also admitted Saudi and UEA as "balance". Brazil would have vetoed Saudi, but agreed in return for having their chosen country, Argentina. And so there was a period of Horse Trading, Nobody wanted Indonesia or Bangladesh enough to use any political capital in getting the others to accept them.
    – James K
    Commented Aug 28, 2023 at 20:54

1 Answer 1



Why didn't Indonesia and Bangladesh receive BRICS membership during the August 2023 BRICS summit?

There is no formal membership criteria so it really wasn't about the proposed new members. The problem was a political one. Any new member would require a unanimous vote by existing members. India and Brazil refused to consent.

China want's to grow BRICS into a large trading consortium. Xi says he wants to create a multi polar world where BRICS nations could compete and even displace G-7 western financial dominance.

Unfortunately for China Brazil and India are both expected to ascend economically in the coming decade(s). This makes them very attractive BRICS members for China but it also means their political motives are different from China. They both have growing trade with the West and are happy to participate in BRICS but don't want it necessarily to threaten their ties to the West. How is it in India's or Brazil's interest to be in any trade consortium which want's to "displace" their largest potential trade partners? The EU and US.

So India and Brazil who were in attendance in South Africa agreed with China on the need to expand, agreed with China on the criteria of expanding, and then just wouldn't pull the trigger and consent to the expansion. On the last day of the conference Brazil objected to the premise of displacing the dollar and that the block should even compete with the G-7. Then India added poison pill criteria to potential new members which China would have a hard time accepting.

Just Business.

BRICS expansion faces eleventh hour hurdle as divisions persist

Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Tuesday rejected the idea the bloc should seek to rival the U.S. and Group of Seven wealthy economies. The BRICS country official said that admission criteria India's Modi proposed included requiring members not be the target of international sanctions, ruling out potential candidates Iran and Venezuela. Modi was also pushing for a minimum per capital GDP requirement.

  • 1
    What do you mean by "poison pill" in this context?
    – whoisit
    Commented Aug 29, 2023 at 4:12
  • @whoisit? India suggested modification to the membership criteria. India suggested that no new member could be a target of international sanctions. This would block/offend Iran and Venezuela two important energy allies for China who are both desperate for membership. Next India wanted to raise the GDP requirement. The GDP requirement would have limited smaller countries which have been most pliable when dealing with China's.
    – user47010
    Commented Aug 29, 2023 at 12:51
  • "poison pill" is a defensive technique where one party offers a second party something they want but imbeds within the offer something the second party can not consent too. They take it they die. It's a term often used in business, but in this case India did it to China. China want's to expand BRICS and their primary new targets (Iran, Venezuela) are under sanction from the west. So India says yes to expansion but makes it contingent on the new members not being under international sanctions.
    – user47010
    Commented Sep 28, 2023 at 11:29

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .