UAE top honour for Modi: Recognition of India’s best-ever ties with Islamic world

In a glowing recognition of his crucial role in providing a new dimension and energy to India’s ties with the UAE and the Islamic world, the UAE has conferred the country’s highest civilian award “the Order of Zayed” on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“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,” Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, announced on Twitter.

“As an International statesman, he (PM Modi) has given a new direction to this (ties with the UAE) relation and today India’s relations with whole Islamic world is at its best,” a statement said.

India’s external affairs ministry promptly expressed appreciation for this singular honour conferred on PM Modi by the United Arab Emirates, the Gulf powerhouse and home to over two million-strong Indian diaspora.

“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,” said the ministry.

The UAE’s highest civilian honour for PM Modi comes at a time when India’s enhanced diplomatic outreach to the Islamic world is getting greater attention in the region. “India’s strategic and economic engagement with the Islamic world has acquired a sharper focus and new energy under Modi’s leadership,” said Manish Chand, Editor-in-Chief, India and World, an influential magazine focused on global affairs.

“The last five years have seen a record number of two-way visits at the level of leaders and foreign ministers between India and the Arab world, specially the Gulf countries. Finally, India’s ties with major power centres in the Islamic world have acquired a strategic character,” he said.

“The UAE’s statement that India’s ties with the Islamic world are at their best is not an exaggeration, but reflects India’s growing stature in the West Asia region,” said Mr Chand, a well-known foreign affairs analyst and author of a book on Prime Minister Modi’s foreign travels.

The relations between India and the UAE, the Gulf’s economic powerhouse and home to 2.6 million Indians, were transformed and upgraded with the signing of a transformative comprehensive strategic partnership agreement over two years ago.

The India-UAE ties have been elevated to the level of Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP), which firmly positions the Gulf’s second largest economy as India’s preeminent partner in the region in both strategic and economic arenas. With a pledge of $75 billion Infrastructure Investment Fund, that was unveiled during Mr Modi’s visit to the UAE in August 2015, the UAE has emerged a leading partner of India in its ongoing journey of economic transformation and infrastructure upgrade.