The United Arab Emirates (UAE) government has announced that it will confer the country’s highest civilian award, the ‘Order of Zayed’, on PM Narendra Modi. India's ministry of external affairs said that this honour was in recognition of the government’s efforts under Modi’s leadership to develop the strategic partnership between India and the UAE.
“The UAE is home to the largest number of our citizens outside India, and is our partner in diverse pillars of cooperation, including investment, energy, defence and security,” MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said. Thanking Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, Modi tweeted, “Under your (Al Nahyan) visionary leadership, our strategic ties have reached new heights and this friendship is contributing to the peace and prosperity of our people and planet.”
No decision has been taken yet on whether Modi will travel to receive the award in the middle of the election campaign. Sources here said the possibility of Modi visiting the UAE was under discussion. “We have historical and comprehensive strategic ties with India, reinforced by the pivotal role of my dear friend, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who gave these relations a big boost. In appreciation of his efforts, the UAE President grants him the Zayed Medal,” Al Nahyan said on Twitter. In another statement, the UAE said that as an international statesman, Modi had given a “new direction to this (ties with the UAE) relation and today India’s relations with whole Islamic world is at its best.”
“I am extremely happy to welcome the announcement of Order of Zayed for a great son of India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, by His Highness Mohamed bin Zayed,” foreign minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted.