NEW DELHI (Reuters) - The United Arab Emirates will award Prime Minister Narendra Modi the highest honor during his visit to the country this weekend, the foreign ministry said on Monday, as a standoff between New Delhi and Pakistan intensifies over the recent Indian escalation in Kashmir.

"The UAE will award Moody the Medal of Zayed, which he had already awarded to him in April, in recognition of the outstanding leadership of Prime Minister Moody and his work to give him a major boost to bilateral relations," the ministry said in a statement.

"The medal, named after Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, founder of the UAE, is of particular importance," she said.

The official Emirates News Agency (WAM) on Sunday referred to the visit by Moody on 23 and 24 August, without mentioning that medal.

During the visit, Moody will discuss with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed "the strengthening of historical friendship and strategic cooperation" between the UAE and India, in addition to "developments and all regional and international issues of mutual interest," WAM said.

She added that Moody's visit "comes within the framework of mutual concern to develop friendly relations and cooperation between the two countries to serve their mutual interests."

Modi is also scheduled to visit Bahrain on 24 and 25 October, according to Indian and Bahraini state media.

Support for the Indian decision
The UAE has expressed support for India's decision to abolish Kashmir's autonomy, saying it is a step that encourages "stability and peace" and improved conditions for the population, a move that led to the expulsion of the Indian ambassador to Pakistan two days ago.

"The move taken by India to abolish Kashmir's autonomy will encourage more stability and peace," the UAE's Gulf News quoted Ahmed al-Banna, Abu Dhabi's ambassador to New Delhi, as saying.

The UAE ambassador said his country expects the move to improve social and economic conditions and confidence in local governance among the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Indian government recently announced that it would abolish Article 370 of the Constitution, which gives autonomy to the state of Jammu and Kashmir (Indian part of the region), prompting Pakistan on Wednesday to expel the Indian ambassador and suspend bilateral trade agreements.

Residents of the Muslim-majority region have been demanding separation and accession to Pakistan since the two countries gained independence from Britain in 1947. Conflict between the nuclear-armed neighbors has sparked three wars, two over Kashmir.