New Delhi, Feb 14 : The Spanish government will confer a prestigious award the 'Grand Cross of the Order of Civil Merit' to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj during her visit to that country on February 18 and 19.
MEA spokesman Raveesh Kumar told reporters that the award will be given to the Minister as recognition by the Spanish government for India's "swift response" through Operation Maitri in rescuing 71 Spanish nationals from Nepal in April 2015 during the disastrous earthquake.
He said in the last leg of her visit to three countries Bulgaria, Morocco and Spain, Ms Swaraj will travel to Spain on February 18-19 at the invitation of her counterpart Josep Borrell Fontelles, Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs.
During her visit, Ms Swaraj will hold a bilateral meeting with her counterpart to discuss bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual concern.
The Minister will also interact with the Indian Community in Spain.
Mr Kumar said, Ms Swaraj's visit to these countries will strengthen India’s relations with them and
also "expand avenues" of cooperation and provide an opportunity discuss regional and global issues of importance.
She will be on an official visit to the Republic of Bulgaria on February 16-17. The visit is a follow-up visit to the State visit of the President of India to Bulgaria in September last year.
"Ms Swaraj's will be the first ever visit of an Indian External Affairs Minister to Bulgaria. During the visit, the Minister will meet with the Deputy Prime Minister & Foreign Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria and both sides will discuss bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest," he said.
Ms Swaraj will pay floral tributes at the statue of Mahatma Gandhi at the South Park in Sofia.
The statue was unveiled last year by President Ram Nath Kovind along with President of Bulgaria to mark the celebrations of 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
She will also interact with the Indian community and Friends of India in Sofia during the visit, he said.
MEA spokesman further said - in the second leg of her tour, Ms Swaraj will visit Kingdom of Morocco on February 17-18.
"The visit is in pursuit of India’s objective of enhanced engagement with the Kingdom and will provide an opportunity to hold in-depth discussions on bilateral, regional and global issues".
During the visit, the External Affairs Minister will interact with her counterpart Nasser Bourita, Minister of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation, Morocco.
She will also call on His Majesty King Mohammed VI, King of Morocco, H.E. Mr. Saad Dine El Otmani, Head of Government and Habib El Maliki, President of Chamber of Representatives, Parliament.
Three MoUs are likely to be in inked in the areas of Counter Terrorism, Housing & Human Settlements and Youth Matters during the visit, he said. (UNI)