What Went Down At BRICS 'Extraordinary Joint Meeting' To Discuss Israel's War on Gaza

While some of the member countries had a clear stance on the war, others opted for a diplomatic approach with their balanced views


BRICS Summit: PM Modi meet SA President

Leaders from emerging economies in the Global South convened at the virtual BRICS summit on Tuesday morning, advocating for a "humanitarian truce" in response to Israel's ongoing war on Gaza.

BRICS chair President Ramaphosa of South Africa, delivering the opening statement, declared Israel's actions as a "clear violation of international law" and denounced the collective punishment on Palestinians as a "war crime tantamount to genocide".

Other than the member countries - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - the summit was also attended by Egypt, Ethiopia, Argentina, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Iran who will officially join the BRICS group in 2024. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was also present.


While some of the countries had a clear stance on the war, others opted for a diplomatic approach with their balanced views. This unconventional BRICS meeting goes against its usual discussions of economic cooperation, development, and global governance signaling a noticeable rise in the assertiveness of the global south.

What is BRICS

BRICS is an acronym, and a group of world’s fastest-developing nations including Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The group started as BRIC with just four founding members in 2009 and South Africa was later invited to join the group in 2010.

The concept was first penned by economist Jim O'Neill of Goldman Sachs in a 2001 paper titled "Building Better Global Economic BRICs. The paper emphasised that BRICS, with their large populations and increasing economic output, could play a crucial role in shaping the global economic landscape.


The group was created with the aim of bettering economic cooperation and fostering a positive relationship between the developing countries.

The group has held annual summits since 2009, with member countries taking turns to host.

BRICS’ growing power

In the summit hosted by South Africa earlier this year, it was decided that six new members will be invited to join the group from January 1, 2024. The countries included Egypt, Ethiopia, Argentina, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Iran. 

Over 40 countries had shown interest in joining the BRIC bloc but only these six were invited to the party. The founding members didn’t provide much detail on the selection process. 

“We appreciate the considerable interest shown by countries of the Global South in membership of BRICS,” the bloc said during the summit. “BRICS countries reached consensus on the guiding principles, standards, criteria and procedures of the BRICS expansion process,” they said, referring to the chosen countries.

President Ramaphosa said, “We have achieved unanimity concerning the initial phase of this expansive journey, with a shared anticipation of subsequent stages to ensue."

World economists have touted the growing BRICS alliance will soon rival the West’s G7. 

What happened at the virtual summit 

While the joint statement released after the summit yesterday called for the "release of all civilians who are being illegally held captive", the individual stances of countries on the war varied.


China urged a cease-fire and emphasised the international community's responsibility in preventing further escalation of the conflict. President Xi also noted China's recent veto of a United Nations Security Council resolution affirming Israel's right to self-defense.

India was represented by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar in PM Narendra Modi’s stead. He spoke of the need for urgent humanitarian aid but didn’t condemn Israel for its actions. "The ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza is causing immense human suffering," he said, emphasising the need for international efforts towards de-escalation. "Right now, there is an urgent need to ensure that humanitarian aid and relief effectively and safely reach the population of Gaza...Along with the need for restraint and immediate humanitarian support, India also emphasizes peaceful resolution of conflicts through dialogue and diplomacy," said Jaishankar, according to a readout by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA)."


India has sent two batches of humanitarian aid to Palestine so far.

However, despite their actions, India had also abstained from a vote in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) calling for an immediate "humanitarian truce" in the Gaza Strip in the ongoing war last month. Thus its position on the war remains unclear.

The Brazilian president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, referred to the conflict as a "humanitarian catastrophe," refraining from using the term genocide as he has done previously. He characterized Hamas's attacks as "barbaric" but emphasised that such actions do not warrant the use of "indiscriminate and disproportionate force against civilians." Lula acknowledged the tragic impact of war, particularly on innocent civilians, including women, children, and the elderly.


South African President Ramaphosa was strong in his criticism of Israel. In the previous week, South Africa brought Israel to the International Criminal Court. In response, Israel withdrew its ambassador from South Africa, and this week, the South African parliament voted to close the Israeli embassy.

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia also advocated for a cease-fire. 

In the latest development, Israel and Hamas have agreed to a four-day truce in Gaza and the release of 50 captives held in the enclave. As part of the agreement, 150 Palestinian women and children held in Israeli jails will be freed. The pause will allow aid to reach civilians in Gaza.