The Year in Air Miles: tracking PM Modi

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PM Narendra Modi offers prayers at the Naguleswaram Temple in Jaffna, 400 kilometres north of Colombo in March. Photo: AFP/PIB

The Year in Air Miles: tracking PM Modi

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World leaders observe a minute of silence during the funeral service of Singapore's late former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew in Singapore on March 29. Photo: AFP PHOTO/Roslan Rahman

The Year in Air Miles: tracking PM Modi

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel and PM Modi at the Hannover Messe in Hanover, central Germany on 13 April. Photo: AFP PHOTO/Tobias Schwarz

The Year in Air Miles: tracking PM Modi

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PM Modi and Canada's former PM Stephen Harper visit Gurdwara Khalsa Diwan in Vancouver in April. Photo: AFP PHOTO/Pool/Any Clark

The Year in Air Miles: tracking PM Modi

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PM Modi inspects a sculpture of the Terracotta Army, a World Heritage Site, in the city of Xian in northwest China's Shaanxi province on 14 May. Photo: AFP PHOTO

The Year in Air Miles: tracking PM Modi

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PM Modi, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee attend the inauguration of international bus services between India and Bangladesh in Dhaka on 6 June. Photo: AFP PHOTO/Munir uz Zaman

The Year in Air Miles: tracking PM Modi

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Modi, in Dubai in April, became the first Indian premier to visit the UAE in more than three decades since Indira Gandhi came in 1981. Indians, who form the UAE's largest expatriate community, account for about 30% of the country's population of eight million. Photo: AFP PHOTO/Karim Sahib

The Year in Air Miles: tracking PM Modi

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PM Modi being presented with a jersey by his Irish counterpart Enda Kenny. Photo: PIB

The Year in Air Miles: tracking PM Modi

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Modi and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg hug after a Townhall meeting at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California, on 27 September. Photo: AFP PHOTO/Susana Bates

The Year in Air Miles: tracking PM Modi

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Microsoft CEO Bill Gates and PM Narendra Modi meet French president Francois Hollande as part of the 70th UN assembly, on 28 September in New York. Photo: AFP PHOTO/Pool/Alain Jocard

The Year in Air Miles: tracking PM Modi

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Queen Elizabeth II and PM Modi view items from the Royal Collection at Buckingham Palace on the second day of his visit to the UK on 13 November. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/WPA Pool/Getty Images

The Year in Air Miles: tracking PM Modi

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A group photo from the G20 Turkey Leaders Summit on 15 November in Antalya, Turkey. Photo: AFP PHOTO/Pool/Berk Ozkan

The Year in Air Miles: tracking PM Modi

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French President Francois Hollande shakes hands with Modi after the "Mission Innovation: Accelerating the Clean Energy Revolution" meeting on the opening day of COP21 at Le Bourget, near Paris, on 30 November. Photo: AFP PHOTO/Pool/Ian Langsdon

MODI RUN

The Year in Air Miles: tracking PM Modi's flying visits to India in 2015

Priyata Brajabasi @PriyataB

If air miles were votes, PM Modi would have kept his absolute majority this year.

That has won him as many trolls as it has fans: trolls who 'thank' him for returning to India for an occasional check-in, while fanboys say he's the best ambassador India has ever had.

The data shows he's certainly been more ambassadorial than Prime Ministerial - since taking office in May 2014, he's made 33 trips abroad; 25 of those in 2015 alone.

Also read - 12 experts on the 12 months of Modi

Some have even suggested the need for the ghar wapsi or homecoming of the Prime Minister.

However, it is safe to say that Narendra Modi is the best brand ambassador India has had in a very long time. He has been able to connect not only with the Indian diaspora around the globe but also with the most powerful leaders of the world.

The year started with a trip to Seychelles, part of the PM's 'Indian Ocean outreach' program. Mauritius and Sri Lanka came next.

March saw the state-funeral of Lee Kuan Yew, the first Prime Minister of Singapore - and PM Modi was one of several world leaders to attended the ceremony. (Singapore got a second visit in the same year to commemorate the 50th anniversary of India and Singapore's bilateral ties in November).

In April, the PM visited France and Germany, and made a strong pitch for his 'Make in India' campaign to French and German industries.

Little India - otherwise known as Canada was next on the agenda, and the PM addressed vast gatherings of overseas Indians in three cities there- Ottawa, Vancouver and Toronto. It has to be said that the visit was an exercise in overdue diplomacy - he was the first Indian PM to visit in 42 years, and seems to have paid off almost immediately: it generated business worth over 1.6 billion Canadian dollars, according to official figures released by the Harper government.

May saw visits to China, Mongolia and South Korea. President Xi Jinping received Modi in Xi'an, his hometown (evoking visits of his Ahmedabad trip in September 2014), before official talks in Beijing. His Mongolia trip was a landmark - he's the first Indian Prime Minister to visit the country.

Closer home in June, it was time to stop by in Bangladesh over June 6 & 7 - and this saw the historic ratification and exchange of documents to finally implement the 1974 Land Boundary Agreement. The agreement allows the two sides to swap more than 160 tiny enclaves whose residents were virtually stateless subjects living in squalid conditions.

July was especially busy for the PM's passport - and, one imagines the PMO, because he visited 6 different countries; Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan (yes, those are all individual countries).

In Russia, he attended the BRICS summit in Ufa. This was also his first state visit to Moscow.

In August, the PM visited the United Arab Emirates - for a conclave with such a large Indian community, it had again been disproportionately long since a PM visited. The previous such visit was Indira Gandhi, 34 years ago.

The next (brief) stop was Ireland, enroute to the US in September. He was the first Indian PM after Jawaharlal Nehru in 1956 to visit the country. "From India to Ireland.strengthening ties and deepening cooperation," the PM tweeted soon as he landed in Dublin.

Modi sought Ireland's support for India's membership of UN Security council and international export control regimes including NSG (Nuclear Suppliers Group) during wide-ranging talks with his Irish counterpart Enda Kenny, a name India had never heard till the PM fixed it.

So few months, so many places to go

In the US, the PM packed in a power schedule - breakfasts with CEOs and speeches at the UN; a summit on peacekeeping by Barack Obama and visits to Facebook, Google and Tesla headquarters. Meetings with Tim Cook at his hotel and the Indian community in San Jose. And, before he left, a final meeting with leaders of the three permanent members of the UN Security Council - US President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Francois Hollande.

Nothing but an election can keep the globe-trotting PM home, and Bihar was big stakes, so while he stirred up a storm of airmiles in October, they were all to Patna and back.

But win or lose, the plane must go on, and in November, he headed to the United Kingdom, Turkey, Malaysia and Singapore.

Also read - The economics of Modi's foreign visits and how it has helped India get more FDI

Describing Modi's visit as 'extraordinary', British PM David Cameron said it wasn't simply about celebrating economic ties but "actually building a thoroughly modern partnership between our two great countries".

In three days he held talks with Cameron and team, had lunch with the Queen, addressed British MPs and did a repeat of Madison Square Garden - this time at Wembley Stadium.

In Turkey, Modi attended the G20 Summit chaired by Turkish President Erdogan. The summit focused on the current state of the global economy, sustainable growth, development and climate change, investment, trade and energy.

Kuala Lumpur saw him for a two-day visit to attend the 13th ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations)-India Summit and the 10th East Asia Summit.

Paris and COP21 was still to come - a historic congregation of world leaders whose carbon footprint in coming together to discuss environmental issues may have been computed by cynics greater than us.

There isn't much left of the year - but don't challenge a man on a mission whose passport still has some blank sheets. The PM's last visit of 2015 - to Russia - aims to promote nuclear and military deals and kicks off today, December 23.

We tracked the PM and his magnificent flying machine on its global jamboree. In photos.

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Priyata Brajabasi

Priyata Brajabasi @PriyataB