The Legion of Merit, Degree Chief Commander, was bestowed on Modi on behalf of Trump on Monday.(HT Archive)
The Legion of Merit, Degree Chief Commander, was bestowed on Modi on behalf of Trump on Monday.(HT Archive)

US President Donald Trump confers Legion of Merit on PM Modi

The medal is rarely awarded and can only be conferred by the US President. It is usually given to heads of state or heads of government
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By HT Correspondent | Edited by Zara Khan
UPDATED ON DEC 22, 2020 12:48 PM IST

United States’ President Donald Trump has conferred the Legion of Merit, one of the highest military honours of the US, on Prime Minister Narendra Modi for “exceptionally meritorious service” as the leader of India.

The Legion of Merit, Degree Chief Commander, was bestowed on Modi on behalf of Trump on Monday. The medal is rarely awarded and can only be conferred by the US President. It is usually given to heads of state or heads of government.

The award was received on behalf of the Prime Minister by India’s ambassador to the US, Taranjit Singh Sandhu. At the same ceremony on Monday, the Legion of Merit, Degree Chief Commander, was also awarded to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

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Trump had earlier awarded the Legion of Merit, Degree Chief Commander, to Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the Amir of Kuwait on September 18. Before that, the medal was last awarded in 1991.

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The Legion of Merit, Degree Chief Commander, is a domed five-pointed American white star plaque of heraldic form and is bordered in purplish-red enamel, with 13 white stars on a blue field emerging from a circle of clouds. Backing the star is 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 for the award conferred on Modi stated it was being bestowed “for exceptionally meritorious service as the Prime Minister of the Republic of India from May 2014 to August 2020”.

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,” it said.

His “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”.

The citation described India as 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”.

It added that Modi’s “personal initiative strengthened the defense 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.”

The citation also said “Modi’s superior effort, personal leadership, and unwavering commitment to advancing strategic cooperation between the United States and India and promoting global peace and prosperity reflect great credit upon himself, the Indian armed forces, and his country”.

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