File photo of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. Photograph:( PTI )
During her visit, the Spanish Government will honour her with prestigious Grand Cross of the Order of Civil Merit for India´s swift response through Operation Maitri
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to embark on a four-day visit to three countries -- Bulgaria, Morocco and Spain. Swaraj will begin her tour on Saturday and return to India on Tuesday.
The visit from February 16 to 19 will begin from Bulgaria's capital Sofia where she will meet deputy prime minister and foreign minister.
According to MEA, this is the first ever visit of an Indian External Affairs Minister to Bulgaria.
The visit comes just 6 months after President Kovind's visit to the European country. During his visit, he unveiled the statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Sofia's South Park along with President of Bulgaria Rumen Radev as part of the 150th birth anniversary celebrations of the father of the nation.
From 17 to 18, EAM will visit Morocco during which she will meet her Morrocan counterpart Nasser Bourita. She will also call on King of Morocco King Mohammed VI. Three MoUs will also be signed in the areas of Counter Terrorism, Housing and Human Settlements and Youth Matters during the visit.
The visit to Morocco comes even as India is increasing its engagement with the African continent.
Spain to honour EAM
In the last leg of her visit, EAM will travel to Spain on 18-19 February.
During her visit, the Spanish Government will honour her with prestigious Grand Cross of the Order of Civil Merit for India´s swift response through Operation Maitri.
Operation Maitri was a relief and rescue mission launched by India after the 2015 Nepal earthquake. The operation saw 71 Spanish nationals being rescued among thousands of others.
Order of Civil Merit was established by Spain's King Alfonso XIII in 1926 and recognises "the civic virtue of officers in the service of the Nation, as well as extraordinary service by Spanish and foreign citizens for the benefit of Spain."
Other recipients of the award include President of Mexico Felipe Calderón Hinojosa in 2012, President of United Arab Emirates Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan in 2008.
She will be meeting the Indian community in all the 3 countries she is visiting.