Prime Minister Narendra Modi has defended what his political rivals called was hugplomacy.
Speaking to Zee News, PM Modi said, “I do not know all the protocols as I am a common man. The openness of this common man is liked by the world. Friendly relations come in handy.”
His comments came just days after the Congress party posted a video mocking his habits of hugging his foreign guests evoking a sharp reaction from the BJP that slammed it as “immature” and demanded an apology.
The video, which was viewed thousands of times, was posted on Twitter ahead of PM Modi’s planned meeting with his Israeli counterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu. Modi had done away with the established protocol and gone to the airport to receive his Israeli guest in person.
The prime minister told the channel that he was unaware of laid down protocols as he is a common man and this has become his strength, as his openness was liked by the world leaders.
“When I became the prime minister, people said how will Modi conduct himself on foreign policy since he has no prior knowledge. In a way the criticism was right since I had no experience. But the lack of experience turned out to be a blessing in disguise since I had no baggage. I told the world that I am a common person. And the simplicity of this common man was liked by the world leaders,” he said.
He said that his attempt was always to ensure that none of his actions hurt the interests of the country.
He added, “Had I been trained like others…I too would have followed those protocols of looking right and left, had shaken hands. But I am an ordinary person…I only try to ensure that no harm ever happens to my country (due to this).”
Asked how he feels when he stands next to world leaders, he said, “My only feeling is that it is not Narendra Modi who is standing there but the representative of 1.25 billion people.”