Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the former President of the Federative Republic of Brazil, was conferred the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development at a function at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Thursday.

While conferring the prize, President Pranab Mukherjee said the prestigious award celebrated the legacy of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi as an untiring crusader for global peace, universal disarmament and a new international economic order.

Transformative figure

“In awarding the prize for 2010 to President Lula, we are honouring today an outstanding champion of the developing world. President Lula has been a transformative figure in Brazil. With his own unique life story of rising from humble origins to the highest level in the country and to international recognition as a world statesman, he has inspired millions of his countrymen,” Mr. Mukherjee said.

Mr. Lula da Silva was described as a champion of inclusive growth in Brazil, for effective delivery of financial benefits to poor families and is credited to have changed significantly Brazil's international profile.

Mr. Mukherjee said the formation of IBSA and south-south cooperation were manifestations of Mr. Lula da Silva’s contribution to the strengthening of cooperation among developing countries of Africa, Asia and South America.

India’s sincere friend

“The people of India hold you in high esteem. You have been a sincere friend of India. It was during your Presidency that relations between India and Brazil steadily progressed and the seeds were sown for a close partnership in the IBSA, BRIC, G-20 and BASIC. Our bilateral cooperation has strengthened significantly in recent years — and we are today in a strategic partnership of a privileged nature, engaged in realising its full potential for our mutual benefit,” he said during the award ceremony.

The prize has been awarded to Mr. Lula da Silva 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 the India-Brazil partnership.”

“The Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development is awarded annually to a person or organisation without any distinction of nationality, race or religion, 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,” said an official of the President’s Secretariat.

United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi, who is also the chairperson of the Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust, and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also addressed the gathering on the occasion.

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