With Prime Minister Narendra Modi deciding to not take the media along with him to Brazil for the BRICS Summit mid-July, it could be curtains down for the well-established practice of Premiers travelling with a large contingent from the Fourth Estate.

Only representatives of the government media and wire services are likely to accompany the Prime Minister.

Usually over 30 journalists travel with the Prime Minister, President and Vice-President on Air India One, the special aircraft for VVIPs which has an entire enclosure for the Press.

While the media does not pay for the airfare, board and lodging at the destination is paid by them.

Over the years — particularly during the Manmohan Singh era — the return flight provided an opportunity to the Press to interact with the otherwise media-shy former Premier.

The on-board press conferences used to be free-wheeling with questions ranging from the visit to domestic politics and economic policy.

Keywords: ModiBRICS Summit

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