New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi was honoured with UAE’s highest decoration Zayed medal in recognition of his role in strengthening the ties between India and UAE.

The Zayed medal is awarded to kings, presidents and heads of states and in the past has been given to leaders of several countries. Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Queen Elizabeth II have all been previously honoured.

Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has also tweeted that the ties between India and UAE are now stronger than ever and called PM Modi a dear friend.

Modi tweeted in response and thanked UAE for the honour. He added that the friendship between the two nations is contributing to peace and prosperity 

After PM Modi’s visit to the UAE in 2015, the ties between the two nations strengthened, according to the Ministry of External Affairs.

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj has tweeted and expressed her gratitude to UAE and has said that it has not only honoured the Prime Minister but the country and its people as well.

Following the Pulwama attack — the deadliest on the Indian security forces in Jammu and Kashmir  — India was invited to a summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Abu Dhabi. It was the first time that India was being invited to a summit of the grouping of Islamic countries. This gained symbolic significance in the wake of the Pulwama attack, perpetrated by the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), which is based in Pakistan. 

Also read: Sushma Swaraj to attend OIC meet where India is invited as guest of honour

The invite to India was a bold move and it showed that the Muslim world was united in condemning the Pulwama attack. It was more than just a superficial expression of solidarity with India. Pakistan, which is a founder member of the OIC, chose to be absent from the summit, protesting the invitation to India. The Indian foreign minister Sushma Swaraj, on the other hand, stole the show at the summit, mobilising world opinion against terrorism. She urged OIC to act together to combat global terrorism, especially in the aftermath of the Pulwama attack which increased tensions between India and Pakistan.

The MEA termed this invite a "welcome recognition" of India's contribution to the Islamic world. Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, said that Pakistan envoys would not be present at the summit "as a matter of principal against the invitation of Sushma Swaraj".

Also read: Pakistan minister Qureshi walks out in a huff as Islamic nations embrace Sushma Swaraj
UAE is a part of International Solar Alliance (ISA) which has its headquarters in Gurugram, India. India also imports 8% of crude oil from UAE.

India is also UAE’s second largest trading partner with USD 50 billion worth of trade in 2017 alone.