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Modi first foreign head to get Bhutan's highest civilian honour

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Senjo M R
Last updated on: March 22, 2024 21:09 IST
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday received Bhutan's highest civilian award, the 'Order of the Druk Gyalpo', making him the first foreign Head of the Government to receive the honour.

IMAGE: The King of Bhutan Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck confers the Order of the Druk Gyalpo on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in Thimphu, March 22, 2024. Photograph: @MEAIndia on X

The award recognises Prime Minister Modi's contribution to strengthening the India-Bhutan friendship and his people-centric leadership.

'The citation added that the award also honours India's rise as a global power under his leadership, and celebrates Bhutan's special bond with India. Prime Minister Modi's leadership has set India on the path of transformation, and that India's moral authority and global influence have grown,' a statement from the Ministry of External Affairs said.


'Honoured to be conferred with 'Order of the Druk Gyalpo' Award by Bhutan. I dedicate it to 140 crore Indians,' Modi posted on X soon after.

Bhutan's King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck conferred the 'Order of the Druk Glyalpo' to Prime Minister Modi at a well-attended public ceremony in Thimphu.

The King announced the conferment of the award during Bhutan's 114th National Day celebrations held at the Tashichhodzong, Thimphu on December 17, 2021.

On Friday, Prime Minister Modi received it during his two-day State visit, his third since he took over as the prime minister in 2014.

According to the ranking and precedence established, the Order of the Druk Gyalpo was instituted as the decoration for lifetime achievement and is the pinnacle of the honour system in Bhutan, taking precedence over all orders, decorations and medals, the MEA statement added.

In 2020, Modi received the 'Legion of Merit from the US Government' award of the United States Armed Forces and in 2019, Russia conferred its highest civilian honour 'The order of St. Andrew' award on Modi.

Earlier in the day, hours after he arrived in the Himalayan nation, Modi said he was grateful to the Bhutanese people for according to him a 'memorable welcome' to their beautiful country and hoped that India-Bhutan friendship 'keeps scaling new heights'.

Modi's visit seeks to further cement India's unique and enduring relations with Bhutan as part of the country's 'Neighbourhood First' Policy. PTI NPK AKJ

In his address to a gathering after receiving the award, Modi said the affinity between the people of India and Bhutan makes their bilateral relationship unique while emphasising that 'Bharat' resides in people's hearts in this Himalayan nation.

Modi said the successful endeavour of one country is cheered by the other.

"The affinity between people of India and Bhutan makes our relationship unique," he said.

In his address, he told the Bhutanese people that "India resides in your hearts".

He addressed the gathering as 'My dear friends of Bhutan' and greeted them with a 'namaskar', receiving a thud of applause from the audience.

Modi said, "Our ties are inseparable. Our friendship is inseparable. Our mutual cooperation is inseparable. And, the main thing is our faith is unwavering. And, that is why this day is very special for me."

People from Bhutan dressed in their native wear and holding flags of both countries clapped intermittently as Modi addressed them.

"As an Indian, it is a great day for me. You have honoured me with Bhutan's highest (civilian) award. Every award is credible. But, when that award comes from a different country, then that faith gets strengthened that we both countries are moving forward in the right direction," he said.

Modi said it 'enhances our belief that through our efforts' welfare of people of both countries has taken place.

"It gives us enthusiasm and energy to work harder. But this honour is not my personal achievement. This is an honour for India and 140 crore Indians," Modi said.

The Indian prime minister said on this 'great land of Bhutan, on behalf of all Indians I humbly accept this award'.

He thanked Bhutan and its people from the bottom of his heart.

Modi said 140 crore Indians know that the people of Bhutan are akin 'to their family members...'.

He said the people of Bhutan also know this and accept that 'India is their family'.

As per ranking and precedence established, the Order of the Druk Gyalpo was instituted as the decoration for lifetime achievement and is the pinnacle of the honour system in Bhutan, taking precedence over all orders, decorations and medals.

During the PM's visit, India and Bhutan exchanged several MoUs and signed agreements in the fields of energy, trade, digital connectivity, space and agriculture, and finalised the MoU on the establishment of rail links between the two nations.

The MoUs were exchanged in the presence of Modi and his Bhutanese counterpart Tshering Tobgay.

Prime Minister Modi met his Bhutanese counterpart in Thimphu 'over a working lunch hosted in his honour'.

He thanked Prime Minister Tobgay for the 'exceptional public welcome accorded to him, with people greeting him all along the journey from Paro to Thimphu', India's Ministry of External Affairs said in Thimphu in a statement.

The two leaders held discussions on various aspects of the multi-faceted bilateral relations and 'forged an understanding to further enhance cooperation in sectors such as renewable energy, agriculture, youth exchange, environment and forestry, and tourism', it said.

India and Bhutan enjoy long-standing and exceptional ties characterised by utmost trust, goodwill, and mutual understanding at all levels, the MEA said.

'Ahead of the meeting, Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister of Bhutan witnessed exchange of several MoUs/Agreements on energy, trade, digital connectivity, space, agriculture, and youth connect among others,' the statement said.

In addition, both sides have also 'agreed on and initialled the text of the MoU' on the establishment of rail links between India and Bhutan, India's Ministry of External Affairs said.

The MoU provides for the establishment of two proposed rail links between India and Bhutan, including the Kokrajhar-Gelephu rail link and Banarhat-Samtse rail link and their implementation modalities, it said.

MoU on general supply of Petroleum, Oil, Lubricants (POL) and related products from India to Bhutan provides for a list of petroleum, oil, lubricants related items.

India would facilitate its supply to Bhutan through agreed entry/exit points, the statement said.

Agreement for recognition of official control exercised by Bhutan Food And Drug Authority (BFDA) by the Food Safety and Standards Authority Of India (FSSAI) will facilitate the trade between India and Bhutan by promoting ease of doing business and reducing compliance costs on both sides.

The MoU will make the export inspection certificate issued by BFDA acceptable by FSSAI for compliance with requirements prescribed by FSSAI while exporting the products to India.

The MoU on cooperation in the field of Energy Efficiency and Energy Conservation measures aims to assist Bhutan in enhancing energy efficiency in the household sector by promoting a star labelling programme developed by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency.

The MoU covers facilitating the formulation of building codes based on India's experience, creation of a pool of energy professionals at Bhutan by institutionalising training of energy auditors etc.

The MoU on cooperation in Sports and Youth would help further the people-to-people linkages between India and Bhutan by advancing linkages between sports agencies of both sides and conducting sports activities/programmes.

The MoU on cooperation concerning sharing reference standards, pharmacopoeia, vigilance and testing of medicinal products.

This MoU would help further develop our close cooperation and exchange information in the field of the regulation of medicines under the respective laws and regulations of each side.

The MoU would allow for the acceptance of Indian Pharmacopoeia by Bhutan as a book of standards for medicines and supply of generic medicines at affordable prices.

A Joint Plan of Action (JPOA) on Space Cooperation provides a concrete roadmap for further developing our space cooperation through exchange programmes, training etc.

The Renewal of MoU on Peering Arrangement between National Knowledge Network of India (NKN) and Druk Research And Education Network of Bhutan.

This MoU is between the National Knowledge Network (NKN) of India and the Druk Research and Education Network (DrukREN) of Bhutan to renew the peering agreement between NKN and DrukREN, The MoU will enhance digital connectivity between India and Bhutan and will benefit the scholars and research institutions of Bhutan.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Senjo M R© Copyright 2024 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
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