Sheikh Hasina receives Indira Gandhi peace award


New Delhi : Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina received the prestigious Indira Gandhi Peace Prize in recognition of her contribution to peace and democracy at a function in the Rashtrapati Bhavan here Tuesday.

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“It is but rare in history that a nation’s birth and political life is synonymous with the life and destiny of an individual. In the case of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Bangladesh, it is indeed so,” President Pratibha Patil said while conferring the award.

“By her sheer dedication to her country, her strong determination and leadership, she has shaped and continues to shape her country’s onward path of progress and development.”

The prize carries a cash award of Rs.2.5 million and a citation.

Hasina, 62, who is on her first visit to India after assuming power last year, was chosen for her contribution to the promotion of democracy and pluralism, her determined drive to alleviate poverty and secure social and economic justice for her people through inclusive and sustainable development.

After her re-election in December last year, Hasina embarked on her “Vision 2021”, aimed at transforming Bangladesh into a middle-income country by 2021, by eliminating poverty and inequity.

In her brief speech, President Patil also said the return of Prime Minister Hasina to the helm of affairs had come at a critical juncture in the country’s history.

“The spectacular electoral victory of the Awami League under her leadership and the restoration of democracy in Bangladesh have been welcomed the world over. She has set for herself and her government an ambitious agenda of economic growth, welfare and social justice for her people.”

The award was introduced by the Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust in 1986, two years after the Indian prime minister was assassinated.

Past recipients of the award include former US president Jimmy Carter, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, and Namibia’s independence movement hero Sam Nujoma.

The last recipient was Mohamed El Baradei, the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).