The government has chalked out an elaborate plan to publicise its foreign policy initiatives to reach out to more people, especially the youth, and a beginning will be made with the Brics summit in Goa on October 15-16.
The ministry of external affairs (MEA) is planning to hold 90 events across several cities ahead of the eighth meeting of the five-nation group – Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa – that holds 42 % of the world’s population and 25% of the global GDP.
The brief from the ministry is simple and clear. “Making Brics people-centric, enhancing people-to-people contacts, especially youth is a priority,” said a senior government official who did not want to be named.
The events or meetings spanning different sectors – education, environment, urban development, health, labour, law, railways and commerce -- have been planned. “These will be organised by various ministries and departments in the run up to the October summit in Goa,” said a senior official.
Government officials said it is a new concept for India. “So far such summits were mostly dour affairs, held behind closed doors. For the first time such an elaborate outreach program has been planned around a summit,” said a senior government official.
India will be hosting the Brics summit for the second time after 2012.
An elaborate media outreach is already in the works to publicise the events. “A meeting was held recently between senior MEA and Press Information Bureau, the government’s publicity wing to fine-tune media plans for the various events,” added the official.
Foreign minister Sushma Swaraj had said in March that enhancing “greater people-to-people participation” will be among the top priorities during the Brics events.
A Brics women parliamentarians’ forum will meet on July 19-20 in Jaipur and the labour ministry is organising an Employment Working Group meeting in Hyderabad on July 27-28.
A Brics dialogue on foreign policy will take place in Patna on July 25-26 while the urban development ministry is holding the Brics Urbanisation Forum in Visakhapatnam in September.
Not to be left behind, the Ayush (Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy) ministry is organizing a Brics wellness forum on September 10-11 in Bengaluru while the home ministry will hold a Brics ministers meet for disaster management on August 22-23 in Udaipur.
A Brics Railway Experts’ meeting has already been held in Lucknow and Secunderabad while the IT ministry is holding an exhibition in Bengaluru.
MEA officials said events will continue even after the summit is over with an under-17 football tournament, film festival, youth forum, trade fair involving Brics countries are in the pipeline. “It will be a year-long celebration,” said an official.