13:50 GMT17 February 2020
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    Although India and the UAE share warm relations, they were further strengthened when Prime Minister Modi paid a state visit to the UAE in 2015. Modi also visited the Arab nation last year.

    New Delhi (Sputnik): The United Arab Emirates has decided to confer Prime Minister Modi with the Zayed Medal, also known as the "Order of Zayed", as a mark of appreciation for his efforts to boost bilateral ties between India and the UAE.

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    "The Government of the United Arab Emirates has decided to confer the country's highest civilian award 'the Order of Zayed' on the Prime Minister of India. 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. We greatly appreciate this honour bestowed upon PM by HH Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed and the Government of 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", Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.

    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".

    Accepting the award, Modi tweeted, "I accept this honour with utmost humility. Under your visionary leadership, our strategic ties have reached new heights. This friendship is contributing to the peace and prosperity of our people and planet".

    Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj also welcomed the announcement and tweeted, "This is in recognition of Prime Minister's stellar role in ushering in a new era of strategic partnership with UAE and the best ever relations with the Islamic world".

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    The Zayed Medal is the United Arab Emirate's highest civilian award. It has earlier been conferred on Russian President Putin, former US President George Bush, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, German Chancellor Angela Markel, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, and Chinese President Xi Jinping.


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