Pune: Former President of India Pratibha Patil has been conferred the “Orden Mexicana del Aguila Azteca” (Order of the Aztec Eagle) – the highest civilian award of Mexico given to foreigners, here on Saturday.
The Ambassador of Mexico to India, Melba Pria, conferred the award on Patil – who created history as this country’s first woman President (2007-2012), at a special ceremony held in the MCCIA Bhavan, Pune.
Patil, 85, becomes only the second Indian head of state to get the award. Earlier, the late President S. Radhakrishna had been conferred this honour.
Mexico’s highest distinction for foreigners is in recognition of their outstanding services to the Mexican nation or humanity, significant contributions to strengthening the bilateral relations between Mexico and other countries, said an official spokesperson.
The royal eagle is Mexico’s national animal, sacred to the ancient Aztecs and it is present on the National Emblem of the Mexican flag.
“It is an essential symbol that links their Aztec past with the modern nation. It is of gold and turquoise and is given to express the respect and admiration of the Mexican people,” the spokesperson added.
Created by a decree in 1993 by the then President of Mexico, Abelardo L. Rodriguez, it is awarded to prominent heads of state or government, ambassadors after they have served in Mexico, important personalities who have made major contribution in various fields, service to the country or its people.
The award comes in five degrees – Collar, Sash of Special Category, Sash, Plaque, Venera and Insignia.
Previous Indian recipients in various categories include Nobel laureate Amartya Sen, renowned artist Satish Gujral, industrialist Raghupati Singhania, Consul-General of Mexico in Mumbai Rajju Shroff and others.