India's Modi awarded UAE medal amid Kashmir crackdown

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India's Modi awarded UAE medal amid Kashmir crackdown
In this photo released by the state-run WAM news agency, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, center right, walks with Khaldoon Khalifa al-Mubarak, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Affairs Authority, center left, after arriving in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Friday, Aug. 23, 2019. Modi is on a trip to both the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, reinforcing ties between India and the Gulf Arab nations as he pursues stripping statehood from the disputed Muslim-majority region of Kashmir. (WAM via AP)

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has received the United Arab Emirates’ highest civilian honor during a visit to the oil-rich Gulf nation.

Modi’s induction into the Order of Zayed on Saturday shows the importance the UAE places on India, the world’s third-largest consumer of crude oil, even as the Indian leader pursues stripping statehood from the disputed Muslim-majority region of Kashmir.

India is home to a rapidly growing consumer market and labor pool that the UAE relies on for its own economy.

Activists, however, decried the UAE bestowing the award on Modi as he clamps down on the Himalayan region claimed by both Pakistan and India.

Modi is also set to travel to Bahrain to become the first Indian premier to visit the island nation.