Behind-The-Scenes At BRICS. When Xi Walked The Beach.

Published: October 17, 2016 23:06 IST
When heads of state of BRICS - a group made up by Brazil, Russia, India China and South Africa - arrived at Goa's Dabolim airport, the official red carpet welcome was not the only thing that awaited them.

After alighting from the aircraft and post the official welcome, every leader was given a glimpse of Indian culture. From lively Bhangra beats to colorful Kathakali to the majestic moves of Bharatnatyam, the colours of India's rich cultural heritage were on full display right at the airport.

The venue for the BRICS summit was the beautiful Taj property on the Benaulim beach overlooking the Arabian Sea. Sources say that Chinese President Xi Jinping broke his heavy security ring around him for a few moments and walked to the rear end of the Taj Exotica hotel to have a look at the beach. Of course, there could not have been any threat as that stretch of the Benaulim beach had been completely sanitized.

"Every year, Goa is used to celebrities and stars as it hosts the international film festival. But we have not seen this kind of security before,"said a young Goan journalist and quickly added, "It is understandable though as two of the most powerful world leaders, Putin and Xi Jinping, are here."

If an international summit is held in Goa, then, there has to be a bit of sun and sand. Well, at least, sand. Renowned sand artist Sudarshan Patnaik recreated iconic images of each BRICS country.

Leaders of the BRICS countries pose for a group picture during the summit in Benaulim, Goa

Dressed in colourful Nehru jackets, BRICS leaders admired the Great Wall of China, Russia's Saint Basil Cathedral, Brazil's Christ the Redeemer, India's Taj Mahal and Nelson Mandela to represent South Africa.

While Patnaik was clearly India's pride, each BRICS member had sent sand for the miniature monuments.

There is always an element of unpredictability with Prime Minister Modi. One had seen that when he had decided to make an unscheduled stop at Lahore and catch up with Nawaz Sharif in December 2015.

In BRICS too, this was on display as he dropped in as a surprise guest at a bilateral meeting between President Xi Jinping and Nepalese Prime Minister Push Kumar Dahal, who had come to attend BIMSTEC meeting.

"It was purely coincidental. After his meeting with President Xi Jinping, the Nepalese Prime Minister was leaving for his hotel. At that time, there was a movement of another leader and his motorcade couldn't come to the parking area of Taj Exotica, the venue of BRICS. PM Dahal went back to the Leaders' Lounge. Our Prime Minister was already going in to host the banquet for BRICS leaders. That's how he met them at the lounge, "said Vikas Swarup, the spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs.

One remembers the image of Prime Minister Modi playing a traditional drum at Japan. And clearly his reputation has travelled far and wide. Bhutanese Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay presented a traditional Bhutanese string instrument and praised the PM as an excellent musician.
(Sandeep Phukan is Deputy National Editor with NDTV)

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

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