UAE crown prince confers PM Modi with highest civilian award

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was conferred the Order of Zayed, UAE’s highest civilian award, by Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, last evening.  PM Modi reached Abu Dubai, UAE’s capital city form Paris yesterday, on the second leg of his three-nation tour to France, UAE and Bahrain.

“I am humbled to get the ‘Order of Zayed’ a while ago. This award is not for an individual but for the spirit of Indian culture and is dedicated to the skills and abilities of 1.3 billion Indians. I thank the Government of the United Arab Emirates for this honour,” the Prime Minister said in a tweet.

The award has earlier been bestowed on several world leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, Queen Elizabeth II and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Conferring the award on the Indian prime minister, the crown prince, also expressed gratitude to his “brother” for visiting “his second home” and for his efforts to boost bilateral ties between the two nations.

In Abu Dhabi, the two leaders discussed measures to improve trade and cultural ties between India and the UAE. PM Modi and Crown Prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan also discussed the “full spectrum of the strong India-UAE partnership”, which has been “built over generations”, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.

Kumar also tweeted that there was a “new energy” in the relationship between the two leaders. The Prime Minister also launched the RuPay card to expand the network of cashless transactions abroad. UAE became the first country in the Middle East to initiate the Indian system of electronic payment.

RuPay card scheme was launched in 2012 to fulfil the Reserve Bank of India’s vision to have a domestic and multilateral system of payments. The scheme also facilitates electronic payment at all Indian banks and financial institutions.

PM Modi launched the RuPay card by making a special purchase which he will offer as ‘prasad’ at the Shreenathji Temple in Bahrain on Sunday. “The RuPay card comes to UAE! PM @narendramodi makes a special purchase, which he will offer as prasad at the Shreenathji Temple in Bahrain tomorrow,” the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) tweeted.

India has already launched the RuPay card in Singapore and Bhutan.With robust flow of bilateral investments and an annual bilateral trade of about USD 60 billion, the United Arab Emirates is India’s third-largest trade partner. It is also the fourth-largest exporter of crude oil for India.

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