The Man who flew too much!
The year 2015 is about to end and the World leader who earned maximum frequent flier points would arguably be Indian Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi.
NaMo started sedately though, after assuming office in May 2014,he travelled to just nine countries in that year. However in 2015,the man transformed into a travel Ninja and there was hardly a corner of the world that he did not visit.
Travel-wise, the year started slowly with Modi continuing his bromance with President Obama ( or Barack as Modi lovingly referred to him ) and inviting him to be the guest of honour at India’s annual show of it’s military might… The Republic Day parade on January 26.
This was just a lull before a Modi travel storm. Starting from Seychelles in March 2015,the international travel juggernaut of Modi rolled through twenty eight countries in ten months. That averages almost three Countries a month.
USA,UK,Russia,France,Germany,Canada,China,South Korea,UAE,Ireland,Turkey,Singapore,Sri Lanka,Bangladesh and Afghanistan were just few of the countries where Prime Minister Modi and his travel junkie entourage rested for the night or so in 2015.
From exhorting various developed countries to,’Make in India’ to forcefully appealing to the United Nations to make India a permanent member of the UN Security Council, Narendra Marco Polo Modi was at the top of his game, showcasing and hard selling India to the rest of the world.
The numbers never lie and Modi proved it right over and over again. Everywhere he went, people dropped everything and came to see and hear him.60,000 at London’s Wembley stadium in November, 50,000 at Dubai’s cricket stadium in August, 10,000 at Toronto’s Ricoh Coliseum in April.
The deafening non-stop chants of ‘Modi Modi Modi’ at all his public appearances only served to confirm that you could argue against his policies but you could not argue against his charisma and popularity. This travel guru flew around and around the world in 2015 and stopped only to conquer it all.
Whether it was ‘Chai pe Charcha’ with the Queen at the Buckingham Palace, ‘Daaru pe Discussion’ with Francois Hollande in Paris or ‘Vodka with Vladimir’ at the Kremlin,Modi had been there and done that !
But Mr Modi was apparently saving his best for the last.
As the year 2015 drew to a close,Modi decided that he no longer needed a proper official invitation from a foreign Government or follow certain protocols before visiting them.
The need to chalk up one more country in his travel logs hit the Indian Prime Minister so hard that on the Christmas Day,Mr Modi casually tweeted from Afghanistan that he was going on a completely unscheduled visit to Pakistan and simply landed in Lahore.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his administration barley getting four hours notice that the head of world’s largest democracy was en route to their country.
Modi ji arrived at the ancestral home of a flustered Mian Nawaz Sharif, wished him a very happy birthday,gave him a birthday hug and gifts,collected his ‘return gifts’ and returned back to New Delhi before the harried and newly appointed National Security Advisor of Pakistan, Retired General Nasir Janjua could even reach Prime Minister Sharif’s ancestral home near Raiwind.
Perfect example of crashing somebody’s birthday party and not only having their cake but eating it too!
And all this from a guy who since 2005 was unwelcome to fly to US and to Canada since 2002 as well as the UK and many other ‘developed’ countries of the world and who as per his critics…’ would never fly’ with the people of India because of his RSS roots.
Unconfirmed reports indicate that all the countries in this world have signed a document, which says that,should alien inhabited planets ever be discovered in the near future, Modi will be their man to represent planet Earth for a bilateral meeting on those planets.
From a South Asian perspective, two entities consistently made headline this year. Modi who exported himself to various parts of the world and ISIS which exported terror to various parts of the world.
One tried to make the world a better place while the other definitely made it bitter.