For Premier Li, this may be his first selfie, but for Modi, this is just one among a number of photos he’s taken over the course of his first year in power.
It's selfie time! Thanks Premier Li. pic.twitter.com/DSCTszSnq3
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) May 15, 2015
— Vikas Swarup (@MEAIndia) May 15, 2015
The image has received a great deal of attention in the international media. "That put two of the most powerful people in countries with a combined population of around 2.5 billion people – more than one-third of humanity – in the same frame with no official photographer involved," the Wall Street Journal said.
Added CNBC, "The leaders of two of the world's fastest growing countries just made selfie history. Sure, a picture can say a thousand words – but it's not every day one can speak for over a third of the world's population".
One year of Modi selfies
Not all Modi's image-making exercises have left a fuzzy feeling. After voting in the Lok Sabha elections back last year, Modi's photo of his inked finger along with the lotus symbol of his Bharatiya Janata Party led opposition parties to complain that he'd violated the rules by taking publicity shots within the boundaries of an election station. (The complaint didn't seem to go anywhere.)
Over the course of the last year, Modi has travelled to 18 overseas countries. According to the Wall Street Journal he has spent 52 days of his first 365 days in power outside of India.
With each trip, the number of selfies keep on mounting. From Bollywood actress Sonam Kapoor to writer Chetan Bhagat, everyone wants to get into the frame.
— Sonam Kapoor (@sonamakapoor) October 25, 2014
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) April 22, 2014
American Modi meets Indian Modi pic.twitter.com/C4GqIpvQSd
— Kal Penn (@kalpenn) January 26, 2015
For the Delhi elections in February, Modi’s team came up with the #SelfieWithModi hashtag and built thousands of “selfie” booths, which let regular citizens to get themselves photographed next to a virtual Modi. Within just a week, over half a million selfies were reported to have been taken from the booths in the capital region.
Bollywood singer @shibanikashyap clicked her #SELFIEwithMODI in #Delhi. You too get your #Selfie clicked. pic.twitter.com/GBhR2PPyft — selfiewithmodi (@SELFIEwithMODI) February 3, 2015
On his trip to Melbourne, in November of 2014, he was taken to the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground. The Prime Minister of Australia couldn’t say no to Modi’s request for a selfie.
With my friend @TonyAbbottMHR at the MCG. pic.twitter.com/mprgKYPuxG — Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) November 18, 2014
Here is one with students in Queensland.
The PM and his friends at QUT. pic.twitter.com/aa1LgP2zlO — PMO India (@PMOIndia) November 14, 2014
In France, Modi posted with a group of students.
Took selfies with young friends at CNES. We were all trying to take the best selfie out there. pic.twitter.com/xPmKNCgi3G
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) April 11, 2015
On his Fiji trip, right after Australia, Modi didn’t miss his opportunity to take a selfie with Frank Bainimarama, the country's prime minister. This time though, Modi let his friend take the photo.
PM Bainimarama took our selfie before the banquet he hosted yesterday evening. pic.twitter.com/0IHQFouNmL
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) November 20, 2014
The most memorable photo though was of Narendra Modi and his mother after he was declared India’s newest Prime Minister on May 16, 2014.
Sought blessings from my Mother pic.twitter.com/OegXhartLx
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) May 16, 2014