Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi received the United Arab Emirates’ highest civilian honor during a visit on Saturday reinforcing ties between the countries.
The induction of Modi into the Order of Zayed shows the importance the UAE places on India, the world’s third-largest consumer of crude oil. India is home to a rapidly growing consumer market and labor pool that the UAE relies on for its own economy.
Modi is also to travel to Bahrain to become the first Indian premier to visit the island nation.
Abu Dhabi crown prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, personally put the golden medal around Modi’s neck during an event in Abu Dhabi, the Emirati capital.
Mohamed bin Zayed holds official talks with the Indian Prime Minister on enhancing strategic ties as well as regional and international issues of mutual interest. pic.twitter.com/PxjihOa7pB— محمد بن زايد (@MohamedBinZayed) August 24, 2019
Modi had been announced as a recipient of the prize in April in a tweet from Sheikh Mohammed.
Sheikh Mohammed’s announcement came just before Modi won re-election.
India has for decades been a major point of trade for the Emirates. Some 3.1 million Indians now call the UAE home, according to Indian government statistics.
Across the wider Gulf Cooperation Council, which includes six Gulf Arab nations, there are 8.5 million Indians. They send billions of dollars a year in remittances back home.
That, coupled with cooperation on political and defense matters, makes India ever-more important for the UAE and other Gulf Arab states.