Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday received the Indira Gandhi Peace Prize at Rashtrapati Bhavan in recognition of her contribution to promotion of peace and democracy.
“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.
Patil said that Hasina, with sheer dedication, determination and leadership, had shaped and continues to shape her country’s path of progress and development.
The 2009 award was conferred on Hasina for contribution to the promotion of democracy and pluralism, her drive to alleviate poverty and secure social and economic justice for people through inclusive and sustainable development.
The prize carries a cash award of Rs 25 lakh and a citation. The Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust instituted the award in 1986, two years after she was assassinated.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Bangladesh’s voice was today heard with respect in the global fora and India was honouring “not only a great daughter of Bangladesh but a distinguished world leader”.
UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi said a peaceful and democratic Bangladesh was India’s “wish and hope and we have no doubt that under your (Hasina) leadership it will be realised”.
Recalling her association with Indira Gandhi, Hasina referred to the assassination of her father, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. “We had nowhere to go at that time...It was Indira Gandhi who gave us shelter. We took political asylum and stayed in Delhi for six years,” she said.