Does top UAE award for PM Modi convey a message to Muslims in India?

File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan

Muslims in India are generally perceived as not favourably disposed towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi. His party, the BJP, is expected to win the least percentage of Muslim votes in elections, be it for a state legislature or Parliament. And liberals in India are not tired of painting him as an anti-Muslim Hindu bigot and champion of divisive politics.

But the view outside India seems to be entirely different. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Thursday conferred the country’s top civilian award, “Order of Zayed”, on Prime Minister Modi.

A statement on Twitter, made by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces said: “We have historical and comprehensive strategic ties with India, reinforced by the pivotal role of my dear friend, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who gave these relations a big boost. In appreciation of his efforts, the UAE President grants him the Zayed Medal”.

The statement described Narendra Modi as an international statesman, and lauded him for giving a new direction to the ties between India and UAE.  “…today India’s relations with whole Islamic world is at its best,” the statement said.

The past recipients of the Order of Zayed include former US president George W Bush, Russian president Vladimir Putin, French president Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Prime Minister Modi thanked Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan with this tweet.


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