New Delhi: Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has been chosen for one of Japan's top national awards for his contribution to India-Japan ties, becoming the first Indian to receive the rare honour.
Singh will be awarded 'The Grand Cordon of the Order of the Paulownia Flowers' for his "significant contribution to the enhancement of relations and promotion of friendship" between Japan and India for about 35 years, a Japanese Embassy statement said here.
It is a "high level National Order" and a rare honour awarded to those who are recognised for their distinguished contribution, it said, adding "Manmohan Singh is the first Indian recipient of this Order."
Singh said he was truly honoured and felt "humbled by the love and affection showered upon me by the people and government of Japan."
He said it had been his dream to see India-Japan relationship grow and prosper and "this is an objective towards which I have worked, not only in my tenure as the Prime Minister of India, but across the larger part of my career in public service".
Singh, who served as the Prime Minister for 10 years from 2004, said he was heartened to witness today the transformation in India-Japan relations into a durable partnership.
He is among 57 foreign recipients named for the 2014 Autumn Imperial Decorations.
"India and Japan have a shared vision of a rising Asia. Over the past decade, therefore, our two countries have established a new relationship based on shared values and shared interests.
"I have no doubt that with the common efforts and initiatives of the people of Japan and India, we will scale greater heights in our bilateral relationship in future," Singh said in a statement.