The United Arab Emirates is preparing to award Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi the “Order of Zayed,” the highest civilian award of the country, as he plans to visit the Peninsula. The timing of the reported plan to decorate Modi with the prize has been met with immediate backlash taking into consideration the Indian government’s recent crackdown on Muslim-majority Kashmir.
His visit comes as he faces international pressure for placing seven million Kashmiris under draconian restrictions and detaining thousands in an attempt to place the territory under total Indian rule.
Despite the Indian government’s violent attempts to annex Kashmir, putting the demographics of the Muslim-majority territory at risk, Abu Dhabi has seen fit to hand Modi the Order of Zayed when he touches down.
The fact that the “Order of Zayed,” or the “Zayed Medal” will be awarded to Modi was first revealed in April with Mohammed bin Zayed, yet another controversial Crown Prince best known by his three-letter initials, tweeted “We have historical and comprehensive strategic ties with India, reinforced by the pivotal role of my dear friend, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who gave these relations a big boost. In appreciation of his efforts, the UAE president grants him the Zayed Medal.”
Arab states have been accused of remaining mostly silent on the issue, with analysts putting this down to the $100 billion in annual trade between Gulf Arab countries and India.
Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and Oman have not issued any statements over the issue, while Saudi Arabia has simply urged restraint and expressed concern.
The UAE has been supportive of India, calling the decision to downgrade Kashmir’s status an “internal matter”, despite the international dispute between Pakistan and India over the region.
The UAE’s ambassador to India, Ahmed al-Banna, said that the changes in Kashmir “would improve social justice and security… and further stability and peace”.