The leaders of five of the world's fast-rising powers are meeting in the southwestern Indian state of Goa for their annual summit at a time when their ability to shape the global dialogue on international politics and finance is increasingly being questioned.

Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, or BRICS, face the tough task of asserting their growing influence as a power group even as they bridge their own trade rivalries to help grow their economies.

The group represents nearly half of the world's population and a quarter of its economy at $16.6 trillion. But BRICS are battling the economic slowdown and politically each member wants the others to support its policies — Russia on Syria, China on the South China Sea and India on its fight against terrorism.