On Monday, US President Donald Trump presented Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the honorable Legion of Merit award, for his continued leadership in elevating strategic partnership of the two countries and emergence of India as a global power.
Accepting the award on behalf of Modi, who obviously could not presently travel to the United States due to the ongoing pandemic, was India's Ambassador to the US, Taranjit Singh Sandhu, from the US National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien at the White House.
PM Modi has been awarded the highest degree, one which is only given to heads of State or Government, which is the Chief Commander of the Legion of Merit.
Apart from PM Narendra Modi, other leaders to have received this award through their ambassadors in Washington DC, were Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and former Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe. mr. Morrison was presented the award for “addressing global challenges and promoting collective security”, while Mr. Abe got the medal “for his leadership and vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific,” as per the NSA (National Security Agency).
The Legion of Merit Medal is a five-rayed white cross, edged with red, resting on a green wreath with a blue centre containing 13 white stars.
Legion of Merit, instituted in 1942 by former US President Franklin. D. Roosevelt, is the only U.S. military decoration that has distinct ranks, and the first U.S. medal to be awarded to citizens of other nations. It is awarded for outstanding service, fidelity, and loyalty in either combat or noncombat positions. Whereas U.S. military personnel qualify only for the lowest rank of legionnaire, any foreign citizen is eligible for the three higher ranks of officer, commander, and chief commander. These classifications are usually conferred upon foreign officials of high rank or on foreign military advisers.