A day in the life of summit-hopping Manmohan (Brasilia Diary)April 16th, 2010 - 3:37 pm ICT by IANS
By Manish Chand
Brasilia, April 16 (IANS) Two summits and three bilateral meetings, all packed in one day. Trust Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to manage a killing schedule of back-to-back meetings and still look fresh and energetic!
The prime minister started his day one in Brasilia with a meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao and followed it with another round of bilateral talks with Brazilian President Lula da Silva. He then headed to Itamaraty Place for India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) summit where he made a vigorous pitch for reform of the UN and international decision-making bodies. He topped up a hectic day with Brazil-Russia-India-China (BRIC) summit where he again exhorted the world powers to wake up to the 21st century realities and accommodate surging aspirations of developing countries in the UN and other global bodies. He heads to India Friday morning for a long flight home after wrapping up an eight-day visit to the US and Brazil. Total score: three multilateral summits and nine bilateral meetings.
LulaÂ´s big moment
It is clearly the big moment for maverick Brazilian President Lula da Silva, known for his flamboyant gestures and stirring speeches. After all, itÂ´s not every day Brazil, Latin AmericaÂ´s power economy, gets to host twin summits. Lula looked hugely gratified at a joint press conference, first with the leaders of India and Russia after IBSA summit and then at BRIC summit where he was joined by Chinese President Hu Jintao and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. If IBSA has taken off, it has much to do with the “pioneering zeal” of Lula, as Manmohan Singh complimented him at the summit. The two summits have given a big boost to the Brazilian economy with nearly 28,000 hotel rooms boasting full occupancy. Lula is a happy man, what with elections scheduled for October!
Do not molest
Brazil is a fanatically monolingual country. If you donÂ´t know Portuguese, you are virtually lost. Better take a pretty translator along if you are out shopping or otherwise. Officials and journalists accompanying the prime minister were intrigued when they checked into their hotel rooms. The “Do not disturb” card read “Do not molest”. DidnÂ´t know there are so many molesters around in Brazil, quipped a sleep-starved hack.
Brasilia turns 50
Leafy and spacious Brasilia, once a dream in the eyes of the young Oscar Niemeyer, a Brazilian architect, is bracing for the golden jubilee celebrations with a lot of flair and razzmatazz. The big founding day party is April 21, but Brazilians are already rocking in anticipation. Samba dances will consort with Disney World characters at the anniversary party. Brazilian President Lula da Silva announced the 50th anniversary celebrations of Brasilia with a lot of panache and presented a commemorative seal to IndiaÂ´s Manmohan Singh and South AfricaÂ´s Jacob Zuma. The big star of the show will be Oscar Niemeyer, who is still alive and kicking at age 102.
Democracies club, no dictators please
He didÂ´t mean it in that sense, but Manmohan Singh got the message across. When asked whether there was any plan to merge IBSA and BRIC, the prime minister replied casually: “IBSA is about three major democracies of the world.” The message was not lost on discerning journalists who had gathered around him for a casual chat after the IBSA summit. And no prize for guessing who were the others - Russia and China - the prime minister was referring to.
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