Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was on Tuesday honoured with the coveted Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development and said the two countries should work together to achieve peace and progress in South Asia.
"We want to have good and friendly relations with all our neighbours. We must work for a South Asia where peace, harmony and progress will prevail. Till we achieve this, our struggle will continue," she said after accepting the prestigious award from President Pratibha Patil.
Recalling her association with Indira Gandhi, an emotional Hasina referred to the gruesome assassination of her father, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and 18 other family members and said, "We had nowhere to go at that time. Our government then did not allow us to return to our homeland."
"It was Indira Gandhi who gave us shelter. We took political asylum and stayed in Delhi for six years," she said, adding that Indira Gandhi was "truly like our mother".
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Bangladesh's voice was today heard with respect in the international fora and India was honouring "not only a great daughter of Bangladesh but a distinguished world leader."
UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi said a peaceful, secular and democratic Bangladesh was India's "wish and hope and we have no doubt that under your (Hasina) leadership it will be realised."
The award carries a cash prize of Rs 25 lakh and a citation.