Indian PM Narendra Modi has been awarded Zayed Medal, the United Arab Emirates’ highest civilian award his efforts to boost India-UAE bilateral ties. The Zayed Medal has earlier been awarded to Russian President Vladimir Putin, former US president George W Bush, former France president Nicolas Sarkozy, German Chancellor Angela Markel, Queen Elizabeth II from the United Kingdom and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
In a tweet, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, said, “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.”
“The State visit of the Prime Minister (Modi) to UAE in February last year helped in sustaining the momentum generated by earlier visits of Crown Prince in 2017 and 2016 and that of PM in 2015,” the Ministry of External Affairs said.
“India-UAE commercial relations are anchored by energy cooperation, trade, investments by UAE in India and investments and businesses driven by Indian expatriates in UAE,” the ministry added.
India and UAE share warm relations that were strengthened after Prime Minister Modi paid a visit to the nation in 2015. PM Modi visited the UAE for the second time as Prime Minister in February last year and held wide-ranging talks with the Crown Prince.
After their talks, the two sides signed five agreements related to energy sector, railways, manpower and financial services. The Crown Prince had also visited India in 2017 as the chief guest for Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi.
In February, the Crown Prince telephoned Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan as part of his efforts to de-escalate Indo-Pak tensions in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack claimed by the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed terror group which killed 40 CRPF personnel.
Congratulatory messages poured in for the Prime Minister on receiving UAE’s top civilian honour:
Union Ministers Ravi Shankar Prasad, Sushma Swaraj, former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and several other leaders tweeted about india’s “best ever relations with the Islamic world”.
“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.
She said the prestigious award was given to Modi in recognition of his “stellar role” in ushering in a new era of strategic partnership with the UAE and the “best ever” relations with the Islamic world.
“On behalf of the people of India, I express our deep sense of gratitude to His Highness the President, His Highness the Crown Prince of UAE for this great honour. With this, you have honoured India and the people of India,” Ms Swaraj said.
The UAE accounts for 8 per cent of India’s oil imports and is the fifth largest supplier of crude oil to India. The country is also a part of the International Solar Alliance (ISA), which is headquartered in Gurgaon in India.
India-UAE trade stood at about USD 50 billion in 2017, making India the second largest trading partner of UAE, while UAE is India’s third largest trading partner (after China and the US). Moreover, UAE is India’s second largest export destination, accounting for over USD 31 billion for the year 2016-17.