What is the Legion of Merit: Know all about PM Modi being honoured by the US here
Why in News?
President of the United States of America, Donald Trump has conferred the Legion of Merit on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, one of the highest military honours of the US.
Why is the Prime Minister bestowed this honour?
The PM was given this honour for his exceptionally meritorious service as the leader of India. Indian Ambassador, Taranjit Singh Sandhu, accepted the award on behalf of PM Modi.
I am deeply honoured to be awarded the Legion of Merit by @POTUS @realDonaldTrump. It recognises the efforts of the people of India & the US to improve bilateral ties, reflected in the bipartisan consensus in both countries about the Indo-US Strategic Partnership.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) December 22, 2020
What is Legion of Merit?
- Legion of Merit is the US military decoration having distinct ranks. It is by far the first US medal that is awarded to the citizens of other countries.
- The award is being given since 1943
- The medal is awarded for extraordinary services, fidelity shown by the person in either combat or non-combat situations.
- It is unique in itself as any US military personnel can qualify only for the lowest rank of a legionnaire but a foreigner is eligible for higher ranks of officer, commander, and chief commander.
- The award is usually conferred upon foreign officials of high rank or on foreign military advisers. The badge is a five-rayed white cross, edged with red, placed on a green wreath with a blue centre consisting of 13 white stars.
Others who received the honour
President Donald Trump has awarded the former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison with the prestigious Legion of Merit too. Know what is a cryptocurrency and how is it used here
This honour holds significance as the four leaders receiving it are the key to revive the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, QUAD since 2017.
It was a part of the Indo-Pacific strategy and was set as an alternative to the growing belligerence of China in the East.
History of the legion:
In September 2020, the Legion of Merit was awarded to late Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. He was the senior-most Royal in the Middle-East and was given the award for his efforts in bridging divides in the region.
Among others, China’s Chiang Kai-shek was awarded in 1943, Gen Georgy Zhukov from the Soviet Army in 1945, France’s Charles de Gaulle in 1945, Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej in 1960.
Indians to have received the Legion of Merit:
- King George VI, Commonwealth armed forces in 1945
- Brother of Sir Baber Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana in 1946
- Shah Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, Iranian Armed Forces on October 7, 1947
- Field Marshal & Prime Minister Tin Maharaja Mohan Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana, GBE, GCIE Royal Nepalese Army in 1948.
- Field Marshal Kodandera Madappa Cariappa, OBE, Indian Army in 1950
- General Satyawant Mallana Srinagesh, Indian Army on September 2, 1955
- King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX), Thai Armed Forces on June 28, 1960
The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue also called Quad or Asian NATO is an informal strategic forum between the United States, Japan, Australia and India. It has been maintained by conducting various summits timely, information exchanges and military drills uptil now.
The QUAD forum was initiated as a dialogue in 2007 by Shinzo Abe of Japan, Vice President Dick Cheney of the US, Prime Minister John Howard of Australia and India’s then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.