The United Arab Emirates on Thursday announced it will honour Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the prestigious Zayed Medal for playing a 'pivotal role' in giving a 'big boost' to the bilateral strategic ties.
President of the UAE Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan made the announcement to confer the Prime Minister with the award, the highest decoration awarded to kings, presidents and heads of states.
'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,' Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohamed Bin Zayed tweeted.
India has welcomed the UAE's announcement to confer the top civilian award on Modi.
External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said India 'greatly' appreciated the 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.
"We greatly appreciate this honour bestowed upon the PM by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed and the Government of the UAE," he said.
The Crown Prince, who is also the Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, said Modi played a key role in enhancing bilateral ties to the level of comprehensive strategic relations.
"By granting our dear friend the Indian Prime Minister the Zayed Medal, we express our appreciation for his role and efforts in developing friendly relations and extending bridges of cooperation between the UAE and the Republic of India in various fields," he said.
The award comes in appreciation of Modi's role in consolidating the long-standing friendship and joint strategic cooperation between the two countries, the Khaleej Times reported.
'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,' External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted.
She said the prestigious award was bestowed on 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," Swaraj said.
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 Prime Minister's first visit to the UAE took place in August 2015.
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 41 Central Reserve Police Force personnel.