PM Modi to get Russia’s highest civilian award

 RNS: Russia announced its highest state honour, civilian award ‘Order of St Andrew the Apostle’ to India’s PM Narendra Modi for promoting the bilateral special and privileged strategic partnership.

“On April 12, 2019, Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi was decorated with the Order of St Andrew the Apostle – the highest state decoration of Russia – for exceptional services in promoting special and privileged strategic partnership between the Russian Federation and the Republic of India and friendly relations between the Russian and Indian peoples,” announced a Russian government statement.

President Vladimir Putin signed the decree on decorating Modi with the award for his “distinguished achievement in the development of the special and privileged strategic partnership” between India and Russia and the friendly ties between the people of the two sides, according to a statement from the Russian embassy.

After the United Arab Emirates announced it would award its highest civilian honour, the Zayed Medal, to Modi for his pivotal role in boosting the strategic relationship between the two countries, this Russian honour announced for PM Modi.

In a tweet, Modi said he was honoured to receive the prestigious Russian award and thanked Putin and the people of that country. “Foundations of India-Russia friendship are deep & the future of our partnership is bright,” he tweeted, adding that Putin is a “source of great strength” for India-Russia friendship.

The award was originally established in 1698 but it was abolished during the communist era, before being re-established in 1998. Since then, it has been conferred on 18 people, most of them Russians, such as AK-47 designer Mikhail Kalashnikov, former president Mikhail Gorbachev and author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Among foreign recipients of the award are China’s President Xi Jinping and former Azerbaijan president Heydar Aliyev.

According to the external affairs ministry’s statement, this award signifies the “special and enduring strategic partnership between India and Russia marked by exceptional warmth and friendship.”

This is the seventh international award conferred on Modi since he became the premier in 2014. The others are the Zayed Medal of the UAE (2019), the Seoul Peace Prize, UN Champions of the Earth Award, Grand Collar of the State of Palestine (all in 2018), Amir Abdullah Khan Award of Afghanistan and King Abdullaziz Sash of Saudi Arabia (both in 2016). Four of the awards are from Islamic states.

The Seoul Peace Prize, given to Modi for his contributions to the Indian economy, is conferred on individuals for contributions to harmony and reconciliation.

The Champions of the Earth is the highest environmental honour of the United Nations. Modi received the award last October from Secretary General Antonio Guterres for his work in championing the International Solar Alliance. Past recipients of this award include former US vice president Al Gore and Google Earth developer Brian McClendon.

The Grand Collar of the State of Palestine was conferred on Modi by President Mahmoud Abbas for contributions to promoting bilateral ties. Modi was also the first Indian premier to make an official visit to Palestine.

The Amir Abdullah Khan Award is Afghanistan’s highest civilian honour and past recipients include former US president George W Bush and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The King Abdullaziz Sash is Saudi Arabia’s highest civilian honour and its notable recipients include former US president Barack Obama, former UK premier David Cameron and President Putin.

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