India will be hoping for a major diplomatic push when Prime Minister Narendra Modi holds discussions with the leaders of the Brics nations. The five developing countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – will have a two-day summit in the western Indian state of Goa, known for its beaches, over the weekend on 15 and 16 October.
While Modi is expected to bring up the straining ties with Pakistan at the conference and press for a diplomatic offensive against Islamabad, the moves are likely to meet a lot of resistance from China, a key ally of Pakistan. The summit is the eighth of its kind taking place among the vastly varied countries, which account for up to 53% of the global population.
Another key ingredient which could significantly alter the flavour of the ties among the nations will be on the sidelines when India would sign defence deals with Russia worth billions of dollars. As many as 18 agreements across a range of sectors from defence to food are expected to be signed by Modi with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Upon his arrival, Putin told a selected group of journalists: "For our five countries' leaders this meeting (in Goa) will be a good opportunity to harmonise our positions on key issues on the international agenda. We are determined to cooperate in the fight against terrorism, drug trafficking and corruption." A sluggish economy of China and South Africa and the troubling financial situation of Russia and Brazil are also expected to feature prominently in the bloc's gathering.
A thrilled Indian prime minister has been tweeting about the talks on the eve of the summit. He wrote: "I also look forward to useful conversations with my fellow leaders from China, South Africa, Brazil and Russia on addressing pressing international and regional challenges that stand in the way of our goals. As Chair of the BRICS this year, India has embraced a stronger emphasis on promoting people-to-people linkages in diverse fields including trade, sports, education, films, scholarship, and tourism."