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Narendra Modi invited to attend World Cup finals - report logo 16-06-2014

India’s Prime Minister elect, Narendra Modi, may just be about to get his first glimpse of the hysteria surrounding the World Cup and international football if all goes according to plan. He has been cordially invited by his counter-part, Brazilian President Dilma Rouseff, to watch a match at the famous and hallowed Estadio Maracan, in Rio de Janeiro on July 13th, according to the Economic Times.

The PM is expected to attend the matches along with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin and South African President Jacob Zuma. The coterie of international leaders is expected to carry out the 2014 BRICS summit, which is the meetings sixth edition, at the seaside resort of Fortaleza in Brazil, from July 15th to 17th.

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BRICS, which is a plain abbreviation of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, is an international block of the main emerging economies of the world, which holds parlance every year to discuss pertinent issues with respect to trade, improving bilateral ties, and various other socio-economic perpectives.

Though sources at the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) couldn’t confirm whether the PM would leave early to catch the important semi-finals and finals of the World Cup, they did confirm however, that Modi had indeed been invited by Rouseff to watch the matches alongside other BRICS delegates.

The summit had been originally scheduled for March this year, but it had to be rescheduled on China’s pandering so that President XI, an ardent football fan himself, could catch a few matches live.

It is interesting to note that all countries except India have played in the World Cup, whilst three nations will have successfully hosted the championship by 2019 viz. South Africa (2010), Brazil (2014) and Russia (2018). India, meanwhile, ranks a lowly 154 on the FIFA rankings with cricket being the most popular game amongst the masses. Hence India’s diplomatic prowess has little or nothing to do with football, unlike other countries who further their international relations using the beautiful game.

Modi, in an address last week, released World Cup commemorative football stamps and hoped the international event became a “bridge for connecting nations”.

The tournament hosted in Brazil is expected to attract high profile leaders to the South American nation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the Emir of Qatar, Prince Albert of Monaco and UN Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon, all honing in on the nation.

Brazil has special onus on this tournament as they hope hosting the World Cup will improve their dire economic situation, though the hosts have faced severe backlash from the public who claim the country’s administration are destroying resources by spending huge amounts on the World Cup itself.

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