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Ex-Brazil president gets Indira Gandhi peace prize


New Delhi : President Pranab Mukherjee Thursday conferred the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development on former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva here, hailing him for his outstanding contribution to the developing world.

Mukherjee said the award celebrated India’s late prime minister Indira Gandhi’s legacy as an untiring crusader for global peace, universal disarmament and a new international economic order.

“Indira Gandhi would be remembered for her untiring efforts at maintaining cohesion, unity and enhanced economic cooperation among developing nations,” he said at the event in Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Mukherjee described Indira Gandhi, who was prime minister for 16 years in two spells, as “an outstanding champion” of the developing world.

He noted that during Lula’s presidency, relations between India and Brazil steadily progressed.

The seeds were also sown for several international fora such as India-Brazil-South Afria (IBSA), Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS), G-20 and Brazil-South Africa-India-China (BASIC).

“The prize has been awarded to Lula for his outstanding contribution to the cause of eliminating hunger and promoting inclusive growth in Brazil, for his advocacy of stronger ties among the developing economies and for his signal contribution to the cause of India-Brazil partnership,” he said.

The Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development is awarded annually to a person or body in recognition of creative efforts towards enlarging the scope of freedom and enriching the human spirit.

It consists of an award of Rs.2.5 million and a trophy with a citation.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi was present at the ceremony.

On the occasion, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said: “Much like the person whose memory this prize celebrates, Lula is himself is a man of indomitable spirit. This is reflected in his present visit, which he has undertaken after overcoming great personal adversity.”

Noting that Lula “richly deserved” the prize for 2010, the prime minister said: “The conferment of this prize in recognition of Lula’s many achievements also affords a moment to recollect the enduring qualities of the great Indian patriot and leader after whom this prize is named.

“Lula has also been endowed with a clear global vision. He has been acutely aware of the growing global inter-dependence among nations and conscious that national responsibilities do not stop at the border.”