This study examines the evolution of the India, Brazil, South Africa Dialogue
Forum (IBSA) which was formed in 2003 by these three regional-powers
which are also pivotal emerging democracies of the South. IBSA not only
represents a new approach to South-South co-operation but also in the
conduct of international relations. Its primary multilateral objective is to
counter-balance the dominance of the North, led by the USA, in interstate
relations and in particular by attempting to shape and influence the agendas
and structures of global governance in the interests of developing countries.
The emergence of IBSA represents some of the foreign policy responses and
activism of emerging regional-powers to the widening political, economic and
social differences between the developing South and the developed North.
This is considered in terms of relevant theoretical and conceptual frameworks.
The empirical core of the study concentrates on how IBSA countries, on one
hand, apply diplomacy to advance trilateral co-operation amongst themselves;
and, on the other, the extent to which they are able to influence the
management of the global system of governance. A critical aspect of this in an
examination of the tensions and limitations that arise between IBSA’s trilateral
agenda which promotes instrumental or material ends and objectives, and the
aspirations of its global agenda with respect to normative goals and objectives
of promoting fairness and equity in the international system.
The study identifies areas that are critical for strengthening trilateral sectoral
co-operation and opportunities to boost South-South co-operation. It also
assesses whether the scope of the IBSA global agenda is feasible given the
structural limitations faced by middle-powers in global governance. It
concludes with a critical summation of these issues, with some reflection of
what the establishment of BRICS portends for the future of IBSA. Finally, it
presents recommendations for the strengthening and rationalisation of IBSA’s
trilateral sectoral co-operation and global agendas in order to sustain the
promotion of South-South co-operation as the key objective of the Forum.
Mini-dissertation (MA)--University of Pretoria, 2015.