Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been awarded the Legion of Merit by US President Donald Trump for his leadership in elevating the US-India strategic partnership.
“The award is in recognition of the Prime Minister’s steadfast leadership and vision for India's emergence as a global power, and exemplary contribution made by him for the advancement of the India-United States strategic partnership and promoting global peace and prosperity,” the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.
India's Ambassador to the US, Taranjit Singh Sandhu, accepted the award on behalf of the prime minister from the US National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien at the White House.
The Legion of Merit is a five-rayed white cross, edged with red, resting on a green wreath with a blue recentre containing 13 white stars. The medal is rarely awarded and can only be conferred by the US President. Instituted in 1942 by former U.S President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the badge is usually given to heads of state or heads of government.
Other Indians who have won the award include Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa who received the Legion of Merit (Degree: Chief Commander) in 1949 from then U.S. President Harry S. Truman.
Trump also presented the Legion of Merit to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The awards were received by their respective ambassadors in Washington DC.
The United States is the latest country to confer its highest award to the Indian prime minister.
Other awards include the Order of Abdulaziz Al Saud by Saudi Arabia in 2016, State Order of Ghazi Amir Amanullah Khan (2016), Grand Collar of the State of Palestine Award (2018), Order of Zayed Award by United Arab Emirates (2019), Order of St Andrew by Russia (2019), Order of the Distinguished Rule of Nishan Izzuddin by Maldives (2019).