Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has received the highest civilian award in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This has led to outrage among legal experts over his government's actions against the New Delhi-administered Kashmir region, which has a Muslim majority.
Modi was awarded the Zayed Medal on Saturday during a visit to the capital, Abu Dhabi, by the crown prince of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, known by his initials MBZ.
MBZ personally put the gold medal around Modi's neck. Behind them appeared a portrait of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the first president of the UAE, after whom the Order was named.
The two men trembled and held their hands for a moment, speaking softly. "They deserve it," MBZ once told the Hindu nationalist leader while posing for photos.
Modes was announced days before re-election in April as a laureate a tweet from MBZ.
"We have historic and comprehensive strategic relations with India, reinforced by the key role of my dear friend, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has given these relationships a great boost," said a tweet from his report.
India, the world's third-largest oil consumer, is home to a fast-growing consumer market and labor pool on which the oil-rich Gulf state is built on its economy.
"Disregard for Human Rights"  However, the award came because the Modi government in India-administered Kashmir is following stringent security regulations after withdrawing its special autonomy from the region.
By a presidential decree on 5 August, India revoked a decades-long special status granting Kashmir the right to create its own constitution and autonomy to legislate, and sent thousands of troops into the region.
Since then, the Himalayan valley has had a comprehensive curfew, arresting thousands and cutting off residents from all communications and the Internet.
Although Modi's decision concerns Muslims living in India-administered Kashmir, the move has taken a largely subdued response from the Gulf Arab states.
In particular, the UAE ambassador in India described Kashmir as an internal problem for India.
"With more and more Gulf states joining forces more and more with modes, human rights have been rejected in favor of economic opportunities," wrote Samah Hadid, a Beirut-based human rights lawyer.
"Not only has India escaped international condemnation for its actions, it even supports the notion of" Muslim allies, "she added." The situation of Kashmiris is being silenced not only by the crackdown on India, but also by the apathy of those who long claimed to speak for them. "
In an open letter to the MBZ, British MP Naz Shah of the Labor Party urged him to rethink this award ceremony for" brutality, "
"I ask that you question this decision and reconsider the awarding of such an award, not only because the majority of Kashmiri have the same beliefs as you, but because we as human beings have the duty to defend against the violation of human rights and evil, "Shah wrote.
Modi will travel to Bahrain later on Saturday and be the first Indian Prime Minister to visit the island nation.