NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has pipped the likes of Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and United States President Donald Trump to emerge as the third most popular leader in the prestigious Gallup International's annual survey 'Opinion of Global Leaders'.
The two heads of states who are above PM Modi in the ranking are German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the new French President Emmanuel Macron.
Following Modi in the list are British Prime Minister Theresa May, who stands at the fourth spot, while Jinping tails at the fifth position. Russian President Putin, Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz al Sau stand at sixth and seventh spot respectively.
PM Modi has achieved several milestones in the electoral history of India — the most recent being the Gujarat elections as well as several other assembly polls. He has often been projected by the BJP as equal in stature to Congress icon Jawaharlal Nehru when it comes to international diplomacy.
The Gallup International annual survey is going to further bolster this line of BJP propaganda and could bring rich dividends for the party in the Assembly polls lined up in 2018.
Modi, on his part, has broken several past practices and protocols when it has come to meeting foreign heads of states and has contracted friendly terms with several tall leaders of the world. He has been globetrotting to the effect that he has broken many anniversaries such as his visit to Israel that heralded a new era in diplomatic relations with the country apart form his outreach to the Middle East.
Israel's head of state Benjamin Netanyahu stands at the eighth position, while Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is at the ninth position, but above US President Trump. Turkish President Erdogan is in a position higher than Trump. The Pope is lower in ranking than Trump.
(With DNA inputs)