Here we see Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister Tony Abbott hugging last week at the G20. In three photos taken from different angles in rapid sequence we can dissect the relative thought-feelings of each man during this hug/Abrazo.
In the top two images Modi's hand is cupped - preventing full palmar contact with the Australian's back - while Abbott's palm makes full contact. Abbott's hand also contacts for a longer duration.
Modi' is also "leaning into" the hug more while Abbott is standing with straighter back.
Abbott's eyelids are closed for part of the hug, while Modi's eyelids remain open.
In the final image it can be seen that Modi's disengages from the embrace quicker with the beginnings of a turning away/rotation of his torso.
Thus while this hug is certainly not the same kind of embrace seen with greater levels of intimacy, and is not meant to suggest so (e.g., The handshake which initiated this greeting is maintained during the hug and therefore keeps a greater distance between them) - there is still disparity in the level of affection displayed here - which is profoundly valuable to recognize. Mr. Abbott's eyelid closure, standing straighter during the hug, hugging for longer duration and his full palmar contact - vs. a lack of all these shown by Mr. Modi - tells us that Mr. Abbott trusts Mr. Modi, is emotionally comfortable with him and is generally more open in the context of leadership - while Mr. Modi is relatively diminished in these feelings towards Mr. Abbott and/or Australia.
Of course their body language disparity could be due to Mr. Modi's relative lack of exposure on the World stage vs. Mr. Abbott who has been at the game a bit longer .... or it may be for other reasons. It is, however, NOT due to their cultural differences and it is also NOT because Mr. Abbott is trying hard to be a good host (the G20 was held in Brisbane, Australia). It will be interesting to see how the relationship between these two men and their countries changes during their administrations.
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