In a big development, incumbent US President Donald Trump presented the ‘Legion of Merit’ to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his leadership in improving bilateral ties between the two countries and elevating the status of India as a global power.

The Legion of Merit, in the highest degree of the Chief Commander, is a prestigious award conferred by the US President, typically upon heads of state or heads of government of other countries, said Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in a statement.

As per reports, the prestigious award was collected by Ambassador Taranjit Singh Sandhu, on behalf of Narendra Modi from NSA (US) Robert O’Brien at the White House.

The US President has also awarded the Legion of Merit to ex-Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. The awards were received by the ambassadors of the US countries. While Abe was bestowed with the Legion of Merit for his vision of free and open Indo-Pacific, Scott Morrison was awarded for the promotion of collective security and addressing global challenges.

The Ministry of External Affairs statement in this regard said that the award was conferred upon PM Modi on December 21. It further said: “The award is 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 United States has now joined the list of several other countries who have accorded their honours on PM Narendra Modi. In 2019, Russia had accorded its highest civilian honour, The Order of St Andrew the Apostle, to PM Modi. Similarly, Maldives honoured the Indian Prime Minister with the Order of the Distinguished Rule of Nishan Izzuddin.

Before that, the United Arab Emirates had awarded Prime Minister Modi with the highest civilian honour ‘Zayed Medal’ for boosting the relations between India and the Emirates. PM Modi had also received the 2018 Seoul Peace Prize in South Korea. He has also received the Amir Abdullah Khan Award, the highest civilian honour of Afghanistan and the King Abdullaziz Sash Award, the highest civilian decoration of Saudi Arabia in 2016.