On December 21, 2020, United States (US) President, Donald Trump conferred the ‘Legion of Merit’ (Degree: Chief Commander) to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for Advancement of India-US strategic partnership & steadfast leadership and vision for India’s Emergence as a Global power. The Honor was also bestowed upon Scott Morrison, Prime Minister of Australia & Former Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe.
i.Legion of Merit is conferred to members of the US Military, as well as Military & Political figures of foreign government for meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements.
ii.The award was presented by US National Security Advisor (NSA), Robert O’Brien to Taranjit Singh Sandhu, Ambassador of India to the United States who received the award on behalf of Narendra Modi.
i.It is to be noted that India, Japan & Australia all belong to the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD), an informal strategic forum which also includes the US.
ii.The other Indian who was awarded the ‘Legion of Merit’ (Degree – Chief Commander) was Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa.
iii.Legion of Merit is presented to foreign recipients in 4 categories – Chief Commander, Commander, Officer & Legionnaire.
- Chief Commander – Awarded to a head of state or government
- Commander – a person who is the equivalent of a U.S. military chief of staff or higher
- Officer – awarded to those who are at the rank of colonel (for army and air force) or captain for the navy or coast guard
- Legionnaire – any recipient that does not meet the requirements above
iv.The Legion of Merit was instituted in 1942 by the former US President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
v.The First Recipient of the Legion of Merit Medal was British Army Officer Kenneth Anderson (Lieutenant General at the time of conferring) in 1943.
The Legion of Merit Medal is a five-rayed white cross, edged with red, resting on a green wreath with a blue centre containing 13 white stars.
Other Indians who have been awarded the Legion of Merit are General Satyawant Mallana Srinagesh, Navy Admiral Jal Cursetji, General Bikram Singh, General Dalbir Singh, General Rajendrasinhji Jadeja.
About United States:
Capital– Washington, D.C.
Currency– United States Dollar (USD)
President– Donald John Trump