PM Modi receives Russia’s highest civilian honour, dedicates it to 140 crore Indians

Moscow: During his recent visit to Moscow, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was honoured with Russia’s highest civilian honour— the Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle— on Tuesday.

In 2019, it was announced that PM Modi would be conferred with the award for his exceptional service in ‘promoting special & privileged strategic partnership between Russia and India and friendly relations between the Russian and Indian peoples.’ President Vladimir Putin had conferred the award upon Modi.

“Honoured to receive the The Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle. I thank the Russian Government for conferring the award. This award is dedicated to my fellow 140 crore Indians,” Modi wrote on X.

Randhir Jaiswal, Spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs posted pictures of PM Modi and President Putin on his official X handle. “An honour symbolising the depth of India-Russia ties! PM Narendra Modi conferred with Russia’s highest national award, the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle by President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin today,” he wrote.

Focus on bilateral ties with Russia
According to a DD News report, both the leaders highlighted the importance of Indo-Russia relations in the current global context during the award ceremony. “In today’s global atmosphere, India and Russia partnership becomes all the more important. Both of us believe that continuous efforts should be made for global stability and peace,” Modi said, as per the report.

The PM also praised President Putin’s leadership for strengthening bilateral ties across all sectors over the past two-and-a-half decades. “Our mutual cooperation, based on people-to-partnership, is becoming the hope and guarantee of a better future of our people,” the PM added.

What’s the Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle award?
In Russia, this award—which is named after Saint Andrew, who is believed to be one of the apostles or 12 original followers of Jesus—is given to prominent public figures, government officials, military leaders and to those who have shown outstanding contribution to science, culture, art, and various sectors of the economy. It can also be given to heads of foreign states for notable services to the Russian Federation.

It is believed that after Christ’s crucifixion, the apostle travelled great distances to spread his message. Saint Andrew had travelled to Russia, Greece, and other places in Europe and Asia. He had founded the Church of Constantinople, which later led to the establishment of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Who established the award?
In 1698, Tsar Peter the Great (1672–1725) had established the Order of Saint Andrew award. The chain of the Order comprises 17 alternating links, and includes a double-headed eagle, the State Emblem of the Russian Federation. It also has a badge, a star, and a light blue silk moire ribbon. For those honoured for distinction in combat, the badge and star are adorned with swords. It was abolished in 1918 following the Russian Revolution, which marked the end of Tsarist regime. It was re-established in 1998 by an Executive Order of the President of Russia.

Past recipients
This award was given to military engineer and gun designer Mikhail Kalashnikov, author Sergey Mikhalkov, the last leader of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev, Russian Orthodox Church leader Patriarch Alexy II, and the current head of the Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Krill.

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