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Karzai bags Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace

The award is given for extraordinary accomplishments in peace and development.

india Updated: Nov 20, 2006 01:08 IST

President APJ Abdul Kalam on Sunday presented the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development for 2005 to Afghan President Hamid Karzai and reiterated India's commitment to the stability and prosperity of a modern Afghanistan.

"Definitely, India and Afghanistan can further cooperate in empowering the villages in education and healthcare and creating more employment potential. India is with you in your missions," Kalam said at a function in Rashtrapati Bhavan to honour Karzai.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the chair of the ruling coalition United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Sonia Gandhi, who is also president of the Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust, were also present.

The award, named after the former prime minister of India who was assassinated in 1984, is given for extraordinary accomplishments in peace and development. It was presented on the 89th birth anniversary of Gandhi on Sunday.

"We are committed to the welfare and well-being of the people of Afghanistan. We will walk, hand in hand, helping the Afghan people build a New Afghanistan," Manmohan Singh said.

"An Afghanistan of peace, an Afghanistan of prosperity. An Afghanistan of plurality," he stressed.

Praising the Afghan leader, the prime minister said: "Afghanistan has had many great leaders in its history. In that long lineage, President Karzai occupies a special and privileged place as a modernist, a liberal, and a democrat with a deep understanding of his nation's place in the modern world."

Sonia Gandhi also praised outstanding leadership qualities of Karzai and his role in creating a modern Afghanistan.

Paying tributes to the late prime minister, Manmohan Singh said: "Indiraji had a special place in the hearts and minds of the people of Afghanistan for a variety of reasons. But none is more important than the fact that the Indira Gandhi Children's Hospital has for years provided health care to Kabul and to Afghanistan's children.

"Indiraji would have felt truly proud that an award in her name is being presented today to a great son of South Asia, a nation builder, and a true leader of his people, President Hamid Karzai," he added.

First Published: Nov 19, 2006 23:44 IST