A trip to Fortaleza, a city in the northeastern part of Brazil, may well be Prime Minister’s Narendra Modi’s first trip abroad as PM in mid-July. The city will be hosting the sixth summit of Brics, a grouping comprising the five emerging economic powerhouses Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

With the PM having been in office for barely a week, a decision on whether he will be going for the Summit is yet to be taken. However, given Mr Modi’s emphasis on a development agenda and economic diplomacy, it is is expected that he will attend the summit scheduled for July 15.Brics countries together account for an estimated 43 per cent of the world’s population and approximately 18 per cent of its GDP.

If the PM does travel to Brazil for the multilateral meet, it will also afford him the opportunity to meet on its sidelines Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian Presidnet Vladimir Putin, making it the first the first high-level contact between the new government’s leadership and these two countries.

So in this context too, the PM’s visit if he does go will be significant. Mr Modi’s has already shown his keenness to engage with other countries by inviting Saarc leaders to his swearing-in. Of late, there have been indications that the setting up of the Brics Development Bank that the five member-countries proposed to set up during the 2012 Summit may be announced at the July summit. The back is meant as a counter to the western-backed World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.