Putin’s India visit likely to include a Goan holiday
By Devirupa Mitra | ENS - NEW DELHI
17th November 2012 09:55 AM
If the Indian establishment has its way, Russian President Vladimir Putin could make a recuperative visit to Goa during his upcoming state visit to the country.
The Russian leader is scheduled to arrive in the country on Christmas eve, when his homeland would be covered in a thick blanket of snow, with the mercury plunging several degrees below zero.
Factoring in this aspect, sources revealed, the Union Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had suggested to Moscow’s Foreign Office that it would be beneficial to Putin if he could undertake a visit to the coastal enclave. So far, the Russians have not responded to the proposal, either way.
If Putin does indeed make the trip to Goa, he will find himself in a very familiar company as Russian travellers now account for the largest chunk of tourists visiting the sun-kissed beaches in the idyllic state, outstripping the British.
In fact, this year is expected to see record numbers of Russians travelling to Goa, with their traditional winter holiday spots in the MiddleEast and North Africa being off-limits due to tensions in the region.
It is estimated that as many as 150,000 Russians may visit Goa this year, a sharp rise from the 40,000 who visited the state in 2010-11. Also, there were reports indicating the mushrooming of Russian colonies in Goa.
However, Putin will not be the first Head of state to holiday in Goa. Earlier, President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon had kicked off his India visit with a trip to the popular tourist haunt.
For the Russian President, who has made few public appearances lately, having “pulled a muscle”, according to Moscow’s official version, Goa would provide an ideal platform for a revitalised comeback. And he could celebrate a return to the pink of his health with a photo op.
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