New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi was conferred with the Maldives’ highest civilian award, the Order of the Distinguished Rule of Izzudeen.
The prestigious award was presented to Mr. Modi by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih during a ceremony this evening.
The Maldives says, the award is in recognition of the many services Prime Minister Modi has offered to cement the longstanding and amicable ties between the two countries, and for the magnanimous assistance that the Indian government continues to provide to the Maldives under his stewardship. Mr. Modi is the only foreign leader to receive the prestigious award of the maritime nation as yet.
Prime Minister Modi and Maldives President Solih held discussions on a range of subjects of bilateral interest at the President’s office in Male. It was followed by delegation-level talks between India and the Maldives.
After his arrival at the Velana International Airport in Male, the Maldives Foreign Minister Abdullah Shahid and senior officials welcomed Mr. Modi. In a rare gesture from the Maldives side, Prime Minister Modi was accorded a ceremonial reception with 21-gun salute at the historic Republic Square in Male.
Prime Minister Modi will address the Majlis, the Maldivian Parliament, later this evening.
In a tweet after his arrival in Male, the Prime Minister said, this visit indicates the importance India attaches to strong ties with the Republic of Maldives and the desire to boost cooperation in various spheres. This is the first bilateral visit to Maldives of an Indian Prime Minister after 2011.
Tomorrow, Prime Minister Modi will reach Sri Lankan capital, Colombo on the second leg of his two-nation tour. The visit is regarded as a move to express solidarity with the neighbouring nation in the wake of the Easter Sunday attacks.