Prime Minister Narendra Modi has visited 58 countries since 2015, incurring an expenditure of Rs 517.82 crore, the Centre said on Wednesday in a written reply to a question in Parliament.

Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan said that the prime minister visited Russia, the United States and China five times – the highest number of trips Modi has made to a country.

Germany, Spain, Sri Lanka, Japan, Afghanistan, the United Arab Emirates, among others, the minister said in the reply to the question asked by Nationalist Congress Party MP Fauzia Khan and added that many of the trips were multinational.

Modi visited no country in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic. His last visit was to Brazil in November 2019, according to the reply.

Muraleedharan also said that the prime minister’s visits have strengthened India’s relation with other countries on various aspects, including technology, trade and investment, space, maritime and defence collaboration.

“These in turn have contributed to India’s national development agenda to promote economic growth and well being of our people,” the Union minister said. “India is now increasingly contributing to shaping the global agenda at the multilateral level including on climate change, trans-national crime & terrorism, cyber security & nuclear non-proliferation, and offering to the world its own unique initiatives for global issues like the International Solar Alliance and the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure.” The reply also contained a list of treaties and agreements signed by the prime minister with other countries during his visit.

In March, the Centre had said Modi’s foreign visits in the last five years cost the exchequer Rs 446.52 crore. The Ministry of External Affairs listed 59 visits by Modi after he became the prime minister in May 2014.

The Opposition has often criticised the government for Modi’s trips due to the expenditure they have incurred.

Ahead of Modi’s trip to the US to participate in the “Howdy, Modi” event in September 2019, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi took a dig at the prime minister, asking him about the economic crisis in the country. “Howdy” economy doin’, Mr Modi?” Gandhi tweeted. “Ain’t too good it seems.”