The BRICS countries have been subject to a vast number of puns over the years – obviously including the title above. After the Brazil summit of the five emerging economies, the parallel with clay blocks seems reasonable, though. Messages recently emanating from BRICS leaders could be designed to convey the impression that their ambition to curb what they describe as “Western hegemony” and seek mechanisms to reduce developed countries’ influence should not be perceived as mere empty talk. But in what aspects could their cooperation bear fruit? In this article, a less discussed field of their relations will be briefly explored: defense, and mostly the defense industry, where issues of security, economy, trade and prestige meet.
Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa are alike in that, wherever they are on their economic way as “emerging” markets and “developing” powers with a “strengthening” international voice, they are undergoing changes within their military and seeking an assertive role on the world’s military scene. All of them have seen their technology being upgraded and defense expenditures rising over the past years.
But do the BRICS pursue common interests in the military sphere? Or are they at least looking in the same direction? We will outline here some basic features which can be observed in each one’s defense sector. Far from being a thorough analysis, the text will consist by and large of an overview of defense spending and a summary of some latest developments within the military industry (especially regarding equipment) to see if the five countries have good enough basis to cooperate....
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