Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 03/2011

Security Policies of India, Brazil and South Africa – Regional Security Contexts as Constraints for a Common Agenda

Daniel Flemes, Alcides Costa Vaz

February 2011

German Institute of Global and Area Studies


In the course of the last decade, the IBSA states (India, Brazil, South Africa) have increased their weight in the shifting global order, particularly in economic affairs. Can the same be said about the IBSA states' position in the international security hierarchy? After locating the IBSA coalition in the shifting world order, we analyze its member states' willingness and capacity to coordinate their security policies and build a common global security agenda. In addition, we explore the state of and perspectives on bi- and trilateral collaboration initiatives on defense and armaments between India, Brazil and South Africa. A key reason for the mostly modest results of global security agenda coordination and cross-regional defense collaboration is that the prevailing security concerns of each country are located at the regional level. Therefore, the starting point of an assessment of the prospects of IBSA's security cooperation and its potential impact on the strategic global landscape has to be a comparative evaluation of the regional security environments, focusing on overlaps and potential synergies between the national security policies of the three state actors.