Top leaders of 11 countries, including the heads of BRICS nations would take part in the eighth BRICS summit and retreat in Goa on October 15 and 16 to discuss bilateral ties and wide range of issues. “Besides Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS), Prime Minister Narendra Modi has especially invited the leaders from Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) countries – Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand, who will be participating in the retreat that will follow the Summit on October 16,” Sanjiv Verma, Chief of Protocol, Ministry of External Affairs, told reporters in Panaji on September 12.

The BRICS summit that will start on October 15 and will end the next day, following which there will be a retreat, in which BIMSTEC countries will take part.

“The Prime Minister has especially invited leaders from the BIMSTEC countries… At the end of summit, the world will be looking at what will go down in the history as the ‘Goa Declaration’,” he said.

During the BRICS summit, besides financial and economic issues, the countries will discuss counter-terrorism.

“The entire idea is to have broad-based discussions… BRICS signifies emergence of a new global balance, where power is diffused in a multipolar reality. This grouping increasingly plays a major role in shaping the global agenda,” Verma said.

Hosting an international summit has given an opportunity to India to set the agenda of an event of major diplomatic importance, he said.

Disclosing why Modi-led government decided to host the summit outside the capital, Verma said the Prime Minister’s vision is of cooperative federalism.

“This is an opportunity to move out of the Delhi-centric approach and showcase the great diversity of India to the world,” he said.

Goa was competing with another south Indian city with much better conferencing facility to host BRICS, but the Prime Minister gave preference to the coastal state (Goa), Verma said.

“Goa is a vibrant, cosmopolitan state that has always been welcoming visitors. Besides, some participating countries are linked to Goa, like Brazilians and Russians,” he said.

“With presence of 11 heads of states, Goa will be the cynosure of all eyes for three days hosting bilateral, E-BRICS and the BRICS outreach summit,” Verma said.

The Chief of Protocol recalled that in 1983, Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) was held in Goa, which showcased the state as a destination for conferences.

“The international attention on Goa during the conference will boost tourism,” Verma claimed.