Following the success of the G20 summit, India, Brazil, and South Africa (IBSA) have renewed their call for reformed multilateralism and are poised to enhance their trilateral grouping with fresh energy.
External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, Brazilian Foreign Minister Mauro Vieira, and South African Foreign Minister Grace Naledi Pandor convened on Friday, underscoring the breadth of India’s foreign policy partnerships. The trio also agreed to convene a standalone IBSA meeting in Brazil in early 2024.
The joint communique issued after the meeting highlighted the objectives of the group, including coordination among three “large pluralistic, multi-cultural, and multi-ethnic democracies” across Asia, South America, and Africa. They emphasized the need to bolster trilateral cooperation in various sectors and create a new framework for South-South Cooperation.
In terms of principles, the three nations reiterated their commitment to “reformed multilateralism, participatory democracy, respect for human rights and international humanitarian law, sovereign equality, territorial integrity, peaceful negotiation, diplomacy, freedom, the primacy of international law, and sustainable development.” They emphasized the importance of “independent foreign policies” for IBSA members, positioning them as a “bridge” between developing and developed nations, champions of the global south’s interests, and advocates for south-south cooperation. The IBSA fund, which has supported 42 projects in 37 countries, was cited as an example of their commitment to cooperation.
Regarding multilateral reform, the group stressed that United Nations Security Council (UNSC) reform should remain a top priority and expressed frustration with the “paralysis” observed in the Inter-Governmental Negotiations process. They called for concrete outcomes within a fixed time frame through text-based negotiations, based on a single comprehensive text, during the 78th United Nations General Assembly. The group reiterated its commitment to reforms that include representation from Africa, Asia, and Latin America in both permanent and non-permanent categories and supported India’s bid for a seat.
IBSA also pledged to deepen counter-terrorism cooperation, reaffirmed the UNSC’s sole authority in imposing sanctions, and called for urgent reform of the working methods of UN Security Council Sanctions Committees to ensure effectiveness, responsiveness, and transparency. This stance holds significance in light of China’s efforts to block the listing of terrorists targeting India at the UN.
The trio emphasized the need for full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, reaffirmed their commitment to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and voiced support for Brazil’s hosting of COP30 in 2025.
On the issue of debt vulnerabilities, IBSA called for its resolution, citing how interest rate increases had led to a debt crisis and a “lost decade” in development. They reaffirmed their commitment to a rules-based, transparent, non-discriminatory, fair, equitable, open, and inclusive multilateral trading system, with the World Trade Organization (WTO) at its core.
Starting from December 1, 2023, the communique announced that the three IBSA countries would constitute the G20 troika. They viewed this sequence, with India as the G20 president in 2023, Brazil in 2024, and South Africa in 2025, as an opportunity to integrate a developmental perspective into the G20 agenda and amplify the voice of the Global South under the Brazilian and South African presidencies in 2024 and 2025.