The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has conferred its highest civilian award, the First Class Order of Zayed II, to India's outgoin ambassador to the UAE, Navdeep Singh Suri. Upon receiving the award from President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan on Wednesday, Suri said it was an 'amazing surprise'.
He said on Wednesday, "I had gone to H.H Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, for a farewell call and I was greeted with this amazing surprise."
"H.H Sheikh Abdullah was just so gracious when he told me that President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan had decided to confer this very special award on me."
The award is a recognition of all his efforts and contribution to the development and strengthening of friendly relations and cooperation between the two countries and was presented to him during a farewell reception by foreign minister H.H. Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Suri, in turn, praised President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan's prudent policy and his role regionally and globally.
"I am delighted to receive it on behalf of our dedicated team at the embassy and at our consulate in Dubai and on behalf of our wonderful Indian community in UAE," the envoy said.
"I am grateful for this recognition though I do feel that we are merely implementing the direction provided by the visionary leadership of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces; and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi," the ambassador said.
Navdeep Singh Suri has been serving as the Indian ambassador to the UAE since October 2016. During his tenure, PM Modi has visited the UAE twice. Pavan Kapoor will succeed Suri as the next ambassador to the UAE.
Earlier last month, PM Modi was honoured with the 'Order of Zayed' in recognition of his pivotal role in building the strategic relationship between the two countries.