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Kalam presents Indira Gandhi peace prize to Thai princess

A Sanskrit scholar, the princess is keenly interested in epigraphy.

Photo: PTI

PEACE PRIZE: President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam presenting the 2004 Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development to Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn in New Delhi on Saturday.

New Delhi: President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam awarded the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development for 2004 to Thai Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn here on Saturday.

A Sanskrit scholar, the princess is keenly interested in epigraphy. She has a great interest in India and its culture, music, religion, etc. She has been working for the uplift the poor and needy and empowerment of women, and in development projects in Thailand.

The award, given for extraordinary accomplishments in peace and development, was awarded 17 times previously. The princess has been honoured for her service to mankind.

``The Indira Gandhi Award commemorates an extraordinary woman of historic accomplishment. Her Royal Highness has earned the affection, goodwill and respect through her numerous achievements and numerous prolific writings," said United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi, who is also the president of the Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said India and Thailand were jointly seeking a future, in which "our shared past and current commonalities fuel our search for a more cooperative tomorrow". He said, "We know her [Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn] as a keen scholar of Sanskrit and as a devout Buddhist. But Her Royal Highness is all these and more. Her life and work prove that she is a great citizen of the world. Her work in the service of children, and in preservation of the culture of her people, consistently shows us how much we can achieve if only we are motivated to do so. She is both an admirable representative of the Thai people and an outstanding symbol of a great resurgent nation." Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn spoke against the use of deadly weapons. ``We all hope that we could bring peace to this world and no one should use deadly weapons to destroy others.''

Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat,Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dixit, who is also the secretary of the Trust, and members of the Union Cabinet were present. — ANI

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