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Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s trademark hug was again at display Tuesday when he clasped his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu in a warm embrace at the Ben Gurion airport here, not once but thrice. In what has become a keenly-watched ritual, Modi has notably embraced most of the foreign leaders whom he has met over the last three years.
These include Barack Obama and his successor President Donald Trump. Trump, to whom Modi reached out for a hug during his recent visit to Washington DC, had appeared to be taken aback before he reciprocated. Netanyahu today reciprocated with gusto to the Indian prime minister’s gesture. Before Trump, Modi had embraced Russian President Vladimir Putin during his visit to St Petersburg last month when he went to attend the St Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) as a special guest.
Earlier, Modi had hugged Obama often during their interactions. Among other world leaders with whom Modi has shared embraces are French President Emmanuel Macron, his predecessor Francois Hollande, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Crown Prince of UAE Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Significantly, Modi had shared a warm embrace with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif too when he made an unscheduled visit to Lahore in December 2015.