MANAMA: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been conferred the King Hamad Order of the Renaissance by Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa in recognition of his efforts to strengthen bilateral relations with the key Gulf nation.
Modi, the first Indian prime minister to visit Bahrain, received the honour on Saturday night when he called on the King of Bahrain.
The King bestowed Bahrain Order First Class on Prime Minister Modi in recognition of his efforts to strengthen bilateral relations with the Kingdom of Bahrain, the official Bahrain News Agency reported.
On Saturday, Abu Dhabi crown prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan honoured Prime Minister Modi with the 'Order of Zayed', the UAE's highest civilian award, in recognition of his pivotal role in building the strategic relationship between the two countries.
Prime Minister Modi in his acceptance speech, said that he felt very honoured and fortunate to be awarded The King Hamad Order of the Renaissance by Bahrain.
"I am equally honoured by Your Majesty's friendship for me and for my country," he said.
"I humbly accept this prestigious honour on behalf of 1.3 billion Indians. It is an honour for entire India. This is a recognition of the close and friendly relations between the Kingdom of Bahrain and India. These relations go back thousands of years," he said.
He noted that the two countries have agreed to add new areas of cooperation and further strengthen the bilateral ties.
"We aim to make India a USD 5 trillion economy. We would like Bahrain to partner India more closely for shared progress," Modi said.
He also expressed happiness that the Indian origin people are the largest foreign community in Bahrain.
"They are welcomed here with open heart. I thank the leadership of the Kingdom for looking after them and making them feel at home here. I consider myself very fortunate to be the first ever Indian Prime Minister to visit this close friend in our neighbourhood," the prime minister was quoted as saying by the Ministry of External Affairs in a statement.
Modi also invited the King of Bahrain to visit India, it said.
In his remarks, the King of Bahrain said his country was keen to strengthen bilateral relations, as two friendly nations were working for global peace and prosperity.
The King also lauded the contributions of the Indian community in the country.
"We renew our appreciation for the important and outstanding role of the Indian community in Bahrain, which contributes to enriching our national development process.
"The Kingdom of Bahrain is fully convinced of the pioneering role of India at the international level, given its strategic weight and appreciated stances on many core issues.
"We therefore continue to work with you to maintain the security and stability of the region, in particular to protect trade and oil routes, and to strengthen our cooperation in the areas of cybersecurity, space technology, and energy, including its renewable forms," the King said.