While President Trump’s handshakes have become infamous, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has one-upped Trump with his own remarkable diplomatic tactic—a bear hug.
The mainstream media has documented a series of awkward greetings and handshakes between Trump and other world leaders, and left many wondering if the president’s approach could be bested.
French President Emmanuel Macron gave Trump a go when he refused to release Trump’s hand during the notorious Trump handshake.
But Modi has overshadowed Macron with his bear hug of Trump. Modi has a historical tendency to hug world leaders, prompting a BBC blog to label him as “the most physically demonstrative Indian leader in years.”
The BBC reported that “For many observers the hug was both natural and commanding and left neither of the leaders at a loss—in stark contrast to numerous other Trump greetings with world leaders.”
Observers took to social media and remarked on what they called Modi’s “craftsmanship.”
Watch Modi execute the double-handed pull on the hug exit. Concentrated force on opponent’s point of weakness. The work of a true craftsman https://t.co/SC2DEY7vrG
— Tom Gara (@tomgara) June 26, 2017
Find you someone who will hug you like Indian PM Modi just hugged President Trump pic.twitter.com/fg7ABaA8OS
— Jason Howerton (@jason_howerton) June 26, 2017
— G (@Gunjan_jsh) June 27, 2017
Analysts say that Trump and Modi were likely briefed by political aides and advisers prior to their meeting, and could well have been coached on what to expect from each other—including a hug.
According to KC Singh, a former secretary in India’s external affairs ministry, “given Modi’s hugging record, it would have been a very ill-informed US team that would not have known Modi was going to go for Donald Trump.”
Singh noted that Modi hugged Trump more for viral value than anything else, adding that, even in India, “no one hugs each other randomly.”
Whatever Modi’s intent, there were a range of reactions to his gesture—including pride, humor and embarrassment—all represented on social media.
The hug between Trump and Modi follows another awkward would-be hug between Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Ivanka Trump that recently made news and pervaded social media.
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