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Modi or Manmohan: Who had the most number of foreign tours?

BJP president Amit Shah on Sunday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his three years in office, had visited fewer countries than former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

This is not the first time Mr. Shah has drawn comparison between the number of foreign trips Mr. Modi and Mr. Singh have been on. Earlier in 2015, responding to Congress’ criticism about the number of trips Mr. Modi was taking, Mr. Shah said Mr. Singh had taken the same number of trips abroad.

Both times, his defence was the same — that when Mr. Singh went on foreign trips, nobody knew. “When Modiji undertakes a trip abroad, thousands of Indians wait to welcome him and foreign nations are eager to do business with India,” Mr. Shah said in 2015. He reiterated the same sentiment on Sunday, saying, “The entire world watches him (Mr. Modi).”

In order to fact check Mr. Shah’s claim, The Hindu gathered data about both Prime Ministers’ travel details. The data was sourced from the former PM’s archive website and website of the Ministry of External Affairs. Here’s what we found.


Mr. Manmohan Singh visited a total 27 countries during his first three years as Prime Minister in the UPA I government — from June 2004 to May 2007. PM Modi visited nearly double that — 49 countries — in a similar time span of June 2014 to May 2017.

Mr. Singh significantly upped the number of foreign tours he undertook during his second term as PM. However, that number — 36 — is nowhere close to Mr. Modi’s. Here is the year-wise break-up of data:

Year 1

Year 2



Year 3



Mr. Singh tops the number table in two areas. He visited one more country than the current PM during the first year of his second term. He visited 14 while, Mr. Modi visited 13.

The other is the number of days either statesman spent abroad. Mr. Singh spent a total of 111 days abroad during his second term visiting 36 countries. Mr. Modi spent only 94 days abroad even though the number of countries he visited is higher. 

Region-wise break-up

RegionManmohan Singh, UPA-1Manmohan Singh, UPA-2Narendra Modi
Central Asia0011
East Asia6157
Latin America903
North America143015
South Asia121523
South-East Asia10124
West Asia036


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Printable version | Mar 3, 2021 3:19:42 PM |

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