This incisive piece by Mr. Oliver Stuenkel, a Professor of International Relations at the Getulio Vargas Foundation argues for keeping IBSA and BRICS as disparate entities and cautions against any plans for their merger at the behest of China. According to him, IBSA members share a set of fundamental notions about global order, are democracies which are able to freely debate issues related to human rights and civil society – matters than cannot be discussed openly at BRICS Summits and help create an intimate setting undisturbed by at times strained bilateral ties. He cuts through the rising perception of IBSA's nebulous and general nature of activities by stating that IBSA's greatest positive externality lies precisely in its generality which allows think tanks, civil society, academia, public sector technocrats and foreign policy makers to engage and develop joint strategies to common problems. He concludes by opining that BRICS and IBSA can work for synergising their activities, but not towards a merger.
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