French President Emmanuel Macron conferred Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the country's highest honour, the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour, during his official visit to France.
Napoleon Bonaparte had established the Legion of Honour which consists of five degrees, among which the Indian prime minister was awarded the highest, the Grand Cross. The colour of the ribbon is red, and a five-armed Maltese asterisk on an oak along with laurel wreath is featured on the badge.
Although the membership remains typically reserved for French nationals, foreign individuals who are either serving France or upholding its ideals can also receive this distinction. Annually, around 300 foreign nationals are awarded this honour, in a total membership of over 79,000.
“A warm gesture embodying the spirit of Indo-French partnership. PM Narendra Modi conferred with the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour, the highest award in France by President Emmanuel Macron,” said the Ministry of External Affairs on Twitter.
As stated on the official website, the Legion of Honor is a reward given in France for “outstanding merit acquired in the service of the nation in a civilian or military capacity."
“Foreigners may be decorated with the Legion of Honor if they have rendered services (e.g. cultural or economic) to France or supported causes defended by France, such as human rights, freedom of the press, or humanitarian action. State visits are also an occasion for conferring the Legion of Honor upon official figures, pursuant to diplomatic reciprocity and thereby supporting the foreign policy of France,” according to the award criteria.
Expressing his gratitude at the honour received, PM Modi tweeted, "It is with great humility that I accept the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor. This is an honour for the 140 crore people of India. I thank President @EmmanuelMacron, the French Government and people for this gesture. It shows their deep affection towards India and resolve for furthering friendship with our nation."