Modi Shakes Obama’s Hand and Doesn’t Let Go

Prime Minister Narendra Modi deployed a new diplomatic weapon in his war to tighten ties with the United States Sunday: The lingering hand-hold.

With Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, he used an enthusiastic bear hug, with Chinese Present Xi Jinping he sat on a swing, with Australia’s premier, Tony Abbott,he took a selfie.

A great showman, Mr. Modi broke protocol and welcomed Mr. Obama as he stepped off Air Force One in New Delhi Sunday with a hearty handshake, a big hug and another handshake. Then he got ahold of the U.S. president’s right hand with his left and held on for an unusually long time.

As the handholding dragged on, Mr. Obama tried to counter by putting his other hand over the hand he had lost to Mr. Modi and give it a good solid “this is the last shake” shake, but the enthusiastic Mr. Modi did not let go for close to 30 seconds.

After the shot of the Obamas and Mr. Modi waving to the crowd and more of your standard hand shaking, Mr. Modi got ahold of  Mr. Obama’s right hand again, but this time for only around 10 seconds.

Unless he wants to distance himself from Mr. Modi, President Obama should not be worried, anyone that has good friends in India knows that a bit of lingering hand holding is just a way to show affection, not unlike grabbing someone’s shoulder after a handshake and shaking it to demonstrate you are particularly happy to see them.

Mr. Modi and Mr. Obama still have two full days to build on their bromance. We’ll see how the United States responds.

Source: Wall Street Journal