Pune, Jun 1 : Former President of India Pratibha Devisingh Patil was conferred the 'Orden Mexicana del Aguila Azteca (Order of the Aztec Eagle)', the highest civilian award of Mexico given to foreigners, here on Saturday.
Ambassador of Mexico to India, (Ms) Melba Pria, conferred the award on Patil, who created history as the country’s first woman Head of State (2007-2012), at a special ceremony held in MCCIA Bhavan, Pune this morning.
Patil (85) becomes only the second Indian head of state to get the award. Earlier, late President Dr S Radhakrishnan 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, sacred to the Aztec, is Mexico’s national animal and 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 professor Amartya Sen, renowned artist Satish Gujral, industrialist Raghupati Singhania and Honorary Consul-General of Mexico in Mumbai Rajju Shroff.
Renowned global personalities who were conferred this award include Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip (Great Britain), Emperor Mohammed Reza (Iran), King Juan Carlos I, Queen Sofia (Spain), Josip Broz Tito (Yugoslavia), President Charles de Gaulle (France), President Dwight D Eisenhower (USA), King Mohammed VI (Morocco), King Carl
Gustaf XVI (Sweden), President Julius Nyerere (Tanzania), Queen Margrethe II (Denmark), President Nelson Mandela (South Africa), Queen Beatrix (The Netherlands), King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (Saudi Arabia), Walter Elias Disney, Bill Gates (USA), Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Colombia), and more. (UNI)