Athens | Prime minister Narendra Modi was conferred with the prestigious Grand Cross of the Order of Honour by Greek President Katerina N Sakellaropoulou on Friday, becoming the first foreign Head of Government to receive the honour.
The honour is bestowed by the Greek president to prime ministers and eminent personalities who, by reason of their distinguished position, have contributed to enhancing the stature of Greece.
Prime Minister Modi was conferred with the Grand Cross of the Order of Honour by President Sakellaropoulou, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a press release.
"He is the first foreign Head of Government to receive this honour," it said.
The award ceremony took place at the Presidential Mansion in Athens.
Modi, on behalf of the people of India, thanked Sakellaropoulou and the Government and people of Greece for this special honour, the release said.
Tweeting a photograph of the event, Modi said, "This shows the respect the people of Greece have towards India." The MEA in a tweet said it is "a special honour reflecting the strength of the India-Greece partnership".
The citation, according to pmindia.gov.in website, says, “In the person of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, an honour is bestowed upon the friendly people of India.” “On the occasion of this visit, the Greek State Honours the Prime Minister of India, a statesman who has tirelessly promoted the global reach of his country and who works systematically for India's economic progress and prosperity, bringing about bold reforms. A statesman who has brought environmental protection and climate change among the top priorities of international activity,” it states.
The Order of Honour was established in 1975. The head of goddess Athena is depicted on the front side of the Star with the inscription “ONLY THE RIGHTEOUS SHOULD BE HONOURED”.
Modi, who is in Athens at the invitation of Prime Minister of Greece Kyriakos Mitsotakis, arrived in the Greek capital from South Africa where he attended the 15th BRICS Summit.
This is the first visit by an Indian Prime Minister to Greece in the last 40 years. The last high-level visit to Greece took place in September 1983 when then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi travelled to the country.
Prime Minister Modi has been honoured by countries across the world. Recently, during his visit to Paris in July, Modi was conferred with the highest honour of France, the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour, by French President Emmanuel Macron.
In June, Modi was conferred with the ‘Order of the Nile', Egypt's highest honour, by President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, during his visit to the Arab nation.
During his US visit in 2020, Modi was conferred with the Legion of Merit award by then president Donald Trump.
In 2019, the prime minister was conferred with the King Hamad Order of the Renaissance by Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa. It is the top honour in the Gulf country.
Modi was also honoured with Russia's highest civilian award, Order of St Andrew Award, in 2019. In the same year, he also received the Order of Zayed Award, the highest civilian honour of the UAE.