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The Latest: India's Modi hosts dinner for BRICS leaders

Associated Press Associated Press 15/10/2016

BENAULIM, India — The Latest on the BRICS summit of five emerging market economies (all times local):

7:30 p.m.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is hosting a state dinner for government leaders and other officials who have arrived in the coastal state of Goa to attend a meeting of the five BRICS emerging market countries.

Modi's guests at Saturday's dinner include presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia, Xi Jinping of China, Michel Temer of Brazil and Jacob Zuma of South Africa, as well as ministers and officials from the five BRICS countries.

The dinner is being held inside a vast white dome erected on the sprawling lawns of the five-star hotel on the Arabian Sea where the BRICS summit is being held this weekend.

The cuisine for the dinner is Indian, with the hotel's chefs presenting different regional delicacies. The dinner will be accompanied by performances by dancers and musicians from across India.


6:20 p.m.

India has renewed its efforts to put terrorism on the BRICS summit agenda after the recent killing of 19 Indian soldiers by militants who allegedly came from across the border in Pakistan.

Terrorism was a top topic in talks that Prime Minister Narendra Modi held with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday.

Modi said Russia's stand on the need to combat terrorism mirrored India's position. In a joint statement issued after their talks, Modi and Putin stressed the need for zero tolerance in dealing with terrorists and their supporters.

Officials say India is pushing for a strong statement against terrorism to emerge at the end of the BRICS summit.

But it is not yet clear whether China will agree to a condemnation of countries that provide safe havens to terror groups, a formulation that could be interpreted as a reference to Pakistan.

India has long accused Pakistan of allowing militants to operate out of its territory, but Islamabad denies the allegation. Modi is expected to take up the matter when he meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping later Saturday.


4:55 p.m.

As host of the BRICS summit, India is trying to make the meeting inclusive by organizing more than 100 cultural, trade and sports events.

At a trade fair, small and big businesses from BRICS member-nations are exhibiting their wares. Film buffs attended a BRICS film festival in New Delhi. Early next week, journalists from five countries will participate in a media summit, also in the Indian capital.

Under-17 teams from the five countries are competing in the BRICS Youth Football tournament that ends on Sunday.

Amar Sinha, an Indian External Affairs Ministry official, said, "The tournament will take the ongoing interaction and cohesion among the BRICS nations to a new level of exchange between the youth of these countries."

The captains of the football teams will get to meet the BRICS leaders and grab a few selfies at a ceremony later Saturday in Goa.


4:40 p.m.

Imagine India's Taj Mahal and the Great Wall of China sitting alongside Rio's iconic statue of Christ the Redeemer.

India's renowned sand sculptor Sudarshan Pattnaik has created just that in the lobby of a five-star hotel in Goa, the venue for the annual BRICS summit of leaders from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

Pattnaik said Saturday that Russia is represented by the onion-domed St. Basil's Cathedral and South Africa by a sculpture of Nelson Mandela.

Pattnaik, who has traveled the globe creating his sand sculptures, said he was invited to create "something special" for the BRICS leaders. It took him and his team three days to create the installations.

The sand sculptures were to be inaugurated later Saturday, and will become accessible to the public after the summit ends on Sunday.


4:30 p.m.

Dozens of Tibetans have shouted slogans and waved Tibetan flags to protest the arrival of Chinese President Xi Jinping at the BRICS summit in the western Indian state of Goa.

Police swooped in on the protesters Saturday and dragged them away from the area, which was on Xi's route to the five-star hotel where the weekend summit is being held.

The protesters shouted "Stop killings in Tibet" as they were pulled into police vehicles before being taken away. Police said they would be released after a few hours.

The protesters claimed Chinese authorities were planning to demolish part of a revered Buddhist monastery in Tibet.

Goa police had detained more than 20 Tibetans on Thursday to prevent any embarrassment to the Chinese leader.

Last month, local authorities in Sertar, in eastern Tibet, announced plans to demolish parts of the Larung Gar Tibetan Buddhist Institute, one of the largest centers of Buddhist learning in Tibet.


2 p.m.

The tourist beach resort of Goa on India's western coast has been spruced up like never before for the five-nation BRICS summit. Potholed roads have been repaired to give the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa smooth rides from the airport to summit venues.

Huge billboards with photos of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other leaders have been hung along the route from the airport. People are taking selfies crowding around the billboards.

The five-nation summit begins with a dinner on Saturday and ends Sunday.

But for many of Goa's residents, the fanfare has thrown their lives out of gear with several roads closed to traffic, forcing them to take a long detour. Many people have left the town to avoid traffic disruptions. Some of the small shops near the summit venue have been shut for three days.

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