MALE: Prime Minister Narendra Modi was conferred with the Maldives' highest honour "Rule of Nishan Izzuddeen" on Saturday during his two-day state visit to the Island country – his first foreign visit after coming to power for a second consecutive term.
The prestigious award was presented to PM Modi by Maldives' President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih during a ceremony here.
After receiving the honour, PM Modi said, ''Today, I have been conferred with Maldives' highest honour, I humbly accept this it. It is not just an honour conferred upon me but it is the respect given to the friendship and relations between our two countries. India gives utmost importance to its relationship with the Maldives. We want to have a strong partnership with each other. India is willing to help the Maldives in every way possible. May the friendship between India and Maldives last forever.''
''Prime Minister Narendra Modi was conferred with the ''Order of the distinguished rule of Nishan Izzudeen'' (Nishan Izzudeen Award) by the Maldivian Government in recognition of his services in the past to cement the long-standing and amicable ties between the two countries, and for the assistance which the Indian government continues to provide to the Maldives under PM Modi’s stewardship,'' the Maldives govt said.
PM Modi's visit aims at strengthening the bilateral ties, reflecting the importance India attaches to its 'Neighbourhood First' policy.
PM Modi was received by the Foreign Minister of Maldives, Abdulla Shahid who tweeted that it was an honour for him to welcome the Indian leader.
During his two-day visit, the PM will also travel to Sri Lanka after the Maldives on June 9.
Nishan Izzudheen Award is the highest award offered by the Maldivian Government to foreign dignitaries.
Here are some of its previous recipients:
-Duke of Edinburgh, Earl Mount-baton – 1972
-President of South Korea Chun Doo Hwan -1984
-Commonwealth secretary general Sir Shridath Ramphal -1989
-Prince of Saudi Arabia Talal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud - 2009
-President of Palestine Dr Mahmoud Abbas - 2013