Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is known to be a tactile man. In official appearances, whether he is meeting a local official or a world statesman, he likes to hug it out.
His fondness of hugging was driven home this week, during an official visit by French President Francois Hollande to India. Even by Modi's standards this was an unusual embrace, with the Indian leader apparently touching Hollande on the waist while the French leader turned away from him. This followed a more traditional hug from Modi in the moments before.
In videos, it was perhaps less intimate than it appears in photos. Regardless, social media users took the bait.
For some Indians, the hug was an embarrassment and Hollande's awkward turn was a sign that it was a snafu.
But Modi has been hugging world leaders and other important people for years. It seems unlikely he'll stop now. Biographer Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay has said the hugs are a conscious effort to make clear he's on the same level as those he is meeting." He's trying to tell the world that he's an equal, a friend and he's very affectionate," Mukhopadhyay told the BBC last year. "Mr Modi is a performer."
Here's a small selection of the Modi hug in action.
Laos’ Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong, right, watches India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi embrace Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak at the 27th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Kuala Lumpur on Nov. 21, 2015. (Jorge Silva/Reuters) Secretary of State John Kerry and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi gesture after shaking hands at the Vibrant Gujarat Summit in Gandhinagar in the western Indian state of Gujarat on Jan. 11, 2015. (Amit Dave/Reuters) In this photograph taken Aug. 30, 2014, India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi is embraced by his Japanese counterpart, Shinzo Abe, upon Modi's arrival at the State Guest House in Kyoto. (Toru Yamanaka/AFP) Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi hugs President Obama as first lady Michelle Obama looks on upon their arrival at Air Force Station Palam in New Delhi on Jan. 25, 2015. (India's Press Information Bureau via Reuters) Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg hug after a Townhall meeting at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., on Sept. 27, 2015. (Susana Bates/AFP/Getty Images) Narendra Modi greets Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries Mukesh Ambani on the launch of Vibrant Gujarat 2013 6th Global Summit at Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar on Jan. 11, 2013. (Sam Panthanky /AFP/Getty Images) Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott greets India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi during an official welcome at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibitions Centre on Nov. 15, 2014, in Brisbane, Australia. (Ray Cash/G20 Australia via Getty Images)
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