New Delhi: President of the United States of America Donald Trump conferred the highest decoration, The Legion of Merit, Degree Chief Commander, to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 21.
The award is in recognition of the Prime Minister’s "steadfast leadership and vision" for India's emergence as a global power, and exemplary contribution made by him for the advancement of the India-United States strategic partnership and promoting global peace and prosperity.
The Legion of Merit, in the highest degree of the Chief Commander, is a prestigious award conferred by the President of the United States, typically upon Heads of State or Heads of Government of other countries.
The award was received on behalf of the Prime Minister by the Ambassador of India to the United States Taranjit Singh Sandhu, an MEA release said.
At the ceremony, The Legion of Merit, Degree Chief Commander, was also awarded to the Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison, and former Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe.
The Legion of Merit, Degree Chief Commander, bestowed on PM on behalf of President Trump is the highest military decoration of the United States. The Legion of Merit, Degree Chief Commander, is a rarely-awarded, prestigious decoration.
On 18 September 2020, after a very long gap, President Trump awarded the Legion of Merit, Degree Chief Commander, to His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Amir of the State of Kuwait. It was last awarded in 1991.
The Legion of Merit, Degree Chief Commander is a domed five-pointed American white star plaque of heraldic form bordered in purplish-red enamel 215/16 inches circumscribing diameter with 13 white stars on a blue field emerging from a circle of clouds; backing the star, a laurel wreath with pierced, crossed arrows pointing outward between each arm of the star and the wreath.
The reverse is engraved with the words “United States of America.”
The citation with the award states the following: "for exceptionally meritorious service as the Prime Minister of the Republic of India from May 2014 to August 2020. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s steadfast leadership and vision have accelerated India’s emergence as a global power and elevated the strategic partnership between the United States and India to address global challenges. Prime Minister Modi’s personal engagement expanded United States-India ties across all facets of the relationship, helping to establish a strong foundation for an enduring partnership that is based on shared commitment to freedom, democratic principles, the equal treatment of all citizens, and the rule of law." It also states that India is a key partner for the United States in the Indo-Pacific, where the two countries are increasing collaboration to ensure freedom of the seas, open and transparent investment and infrastructure development, secure and reliable digital networks, and good governance.
Prime Minister Modi’s personal initiative strengthened the defence partnership between the United States and India, enhancing the United States’ ability to secure joint military cooperation that addressed shared challenges. His efforts to expand India’s economic cooperation with the United States has advanced prosperity, investment and job creation in both countries, it further said.