Prime Minister Narendra Modi is sleeping on the plane to shorten his foreign trips.
In his latest trips to Belgium, US and Saudi Arabia, he spent three nights on Air India One - while in transit from Delhi to Brussels, from Brussels to Washington DC and from there to Riyadh.
He just spent two nights at hotels - one in Washington and one in Riyadh. In his first two years, Modi as the PM would have spent 95 days abroad much more than Singh's 72 days abroad in his first two years in UPA-1and UPA-2. But Modi has covered far more ground by visiting 40 countries in his 20 trips. Singh could visit 18 countries in 15 trips in UPA-1and 24 countries in 17 trips in UPA-2 in the first two years.
The community address hence happened on March 30 at 9 pm after back-to-back meetings. Modi left for the airport and took a 10-hour flight to US. Check-in bags of the delegation were not taken off Air Force 1in Belgium (but in Washington) and officials packed in an extra piece of clothing in a hand baggage.
Sleeping through time zones, PM landed in the wee hours of March 31, in the US for yet another busy day. On the plane too, Modi does not sleep throughout the time on his flat-bed cabin. "He wants a detailed debriefing on the plane after one leg of the trip is over. There is no luxury to return to India and then prepare for the debriefing," an official said. The PM wants a briefing within 30 minutes of checking into a foreign hotel too before the bilateral commence.
He reached the airport straight from the venue to fly out of Riyadh at 7 pm. He slept on the 12-hour flight again to save a day. Modi arrived there on April 2 afternoon, spent the night and held talks the next day. At 7 pm on April 3, the PM flew back and arrived at Race Course Road at 2 am. He had meetings scheduled the nextmorning. But what about jet-lag of travel to-and-fro US time zones? "Before jet lag hits reverse jet lag comes into force," an official quipped.