India, on Thursday, welcomed the UAE's announcement to confer its highest civilian award - ' The Order of Zayed' - on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying 'it is a recognition of his leadership to develop strategic ties between the two countries'. Reacting to External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar has said that India 'greatly' appreciates this honour bestowed on Modi.
"This singular honour is in recognition of the efforts of the government under the Prime Minister's leadership to develop the strategic partnership between India and the UAE," Kumar said.
Earlier, PM Narendra Modi too had thanked UAE Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan for the honour, stating that the leadership of the Prince was instrumental in enhancing the strategic ties between UAE and India. He further highlighted the importance of his friendship with the Prince for global peaceful relations.
Raveesh Kumar had also added that UAE is home to the largest number of Indian citizens outside India, and is New Delhi's partner in diverse pillars of cooperation, including investment, energy, defence and security.
Union Minister Sushma Swaraj, too, has expressed her gratitude to the UAE government for the honour saying:
A diplomatic source indicated that PM Narendra Modi is likely to pay a short visit to the UAE to receive the award.
President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan had conferred the Zayed Medal on PM Modi for boosting relations between the Emirates and India. The Zayed Medal is UAE's highest civilian honour, awarded to kings, Presidents, and heads of states and is named after UAE's founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who was known for his humanitarian work and philanthropy.
The order of Zayed has previously been conferred upon the then Pakistani President - General Pervez Musharraf in 2007, Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2007, the Queen of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth - Elizabeth II in 2010, the King of Saudi Arabia- Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in 2016, Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2018, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, US President George W.Bush and French President Nicholas Sarkozy among others. Among civilians, it has only been conferred upon Sepp Blatter, the 8th president of FIFA in 2003.