But on Wednesday, the 67-year-old fitness fanatic took things a step further, sharing a video online inviting Indians to follow along with his “refreshing and rejuvenating” morning exercise routine.
The 1.48 minute video shows a barefooted Modi in an outdoor setting, flexing over a boulder and walking backwards. He later walks on along a circular track inspired by the “five elements of nature,” while wielding a wooden staff.
The Prime Minister is the latest high-profile Indian celebrity to take up the #FitnessChallenge craze sweeping the country, in which people post homemade motivational fitness videos online, and challenge others to do the same.
Modi was initially challenged by Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli on Twitter in May.
The challenge is a part of a larger campaign, #HumFitTohIndiaFit (“India’s fit if we are fit”) started by Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, a former Olympic silver medalist and current Indian Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports.
Other Indian celebrities, such as Bollywood actor Deepika Padukone, have responded to the challenge, resulting in the #FitnessChallenge becoming a trending topic on Twitter in India.
Modi himself challenged Karnataka’s Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, Indian table tennis player Manika Batra and the entire Indian Police Service.
But not everyone was impressed by Modi’s video.
Although Chief Minister Kumaraswamy thanked Modi for the challenge on Twitter, he also stated that he was more concerned with the “development fitness” of his state Karnataka.
Congress leader Pramod Tiwari was more critical still, telling Indian reporters that it was “very unfortunate that when soldiers are dying on the border, Prime Minister is busy giving himself a fitness certificate.” He added that Modi “should have expressed his condolences, instead he has insulted them by doing so.”
But many others have responded positively to Modi’s video, calling him a rockstar.
The popularity of the video has seen it quickly transformed into a meme, with people inserting images of Modi exercising into famous photo ops and scenes from history.