As the BRICS members take steps to increase cooperation, another country is exploring the possibility of joining the club. Indian Ambassador to Buenos Aires Amarenda Khatua announced in mid-May that Argentina was interested in becoming part of BRICS and that India, Brazil and South Africa supported the initiative. Russia and China are wary of the prospect, however, given Argentinaâ€™s sizable external debt. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that expanding the group could be discussed at the next BRICS summit, scheduled for July 15 in the Brazilian city of Fortaleza. â€œWe will take a constructive approach to any proposals, no matter where they come from,â€ Ryabkov said. â€œThe BRICS participants will have a chance to discuss the question in detail.â€ BRICS is looking to expand its geopolitical presence as Russia and the West face off over the situation in Ukraine. Proposals for the group to create its own ratings agency and monetary fund have gained momentum in recent months. Experts say that the process to create such institutions was already moving forward and the moves are not directly related to sanctions. â€œThe BRICS integration process is not a result of U.S. and EU sanctions (over the Ukrainian crisis),â€ said Dmitry Ontoyev, an analyst at the Moscow Skolkovo School of Management Institute for Research on Emerging Markets. â€œRather, it is due to objective reality and current global economic and political trends. Set against the backdrop of the culmination of a series of economic and political cycles, the Ukrainian crisis is only an indicator, not a catalyst for change in the global paradigm,â€ said Ontoyev. The joint statement issued by BRICS members at The Hague summit at the end of March this year was the first step in establishing a coherent foreign policy for the group. China, India, Brazil, and South Africa expressed their sympathy regarding the historical aspects of the situation in Crimea and underscored their opposition to the sanctions leveled against Russia. Ontoyev believes that, under these new conditions, BRICS will develop into one of the most important political and economic alliances thanks to one important factor â€“ the full sovereignty of each participating member of the association. All five countries can pursue independent policies that are not limited to any alliance or association, and have sufficient economic capacity and weight to ensure these policies. â€œBRICS is comprised of the few countries worldwide that have such sovereignty,â€ added Ontoev. Maxim Pleshkov, senior analyst Russian rating agency RusRating, said that the commonalities between the BRICS countries made the alliance stronger. â€œBRICS members are natural allies. Where Russia conducted its policy alone in the G8 club, BRICS policy promotes the policies Russia shares with the other member countries of the partnership,â€ Pleshkov said.