Indira Gandhi Peace Prize: Manmohan Singh praises ex-Brazilian Prez Lula's indomitable spirit

New Delhi, Nov.22 (ANI): Praising former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva for his indomitable spirit in overcoming great personal adversity to lead his country with admirable vision, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday said the former was a deserving winner of the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development 2010.

Addressing a gathering of distinguished guests after President Pranab Mukherjee had presented the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development for 2010 to former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Singh said: " Much like the person whose memory this prize celebrates, President Lula is himself is a man of indomitable spirit. The conferment of this prize today in recognition of President Lula's many achievements also affords a moment to recollect the enduring qualities of the great Indian patriot and leader after whom this prize is named."

Singh described Indira Gandhi as a woman of admirable vision and courage, who fiercely guarded India's unity and integrity, was an ardent advocate of the well-being of the least privileged sections of society and one who faced forbidding challenges in the fields of security and development with aplomp.

He said that her words and her deeds reflected her abiding concern for the poor and the underprivileged, and she championed their cause with a rare intensity.

He described her as a person who was often ahead of her times in seeking a peaceful world, a just international order, equitable development and sustainable progress.

Singh said that President Lula's life too "epitomizes the endless possibilities for human achievement that come with character, conviction and commitment."

"He rose from difficult circumstances to be elected as the President of a great nation and to become one of his country's most beloved leaders and a statesman of global stature. It was under his stewardship that Brazil embarked on the path to becoming a stronger, more prosperous, more equitable and internationally respected nation," Singh added.

Singh said President Lula was an individual endowed with a clear global vision, and was acutely aware of the growing global inter-dependence among nations and conscious that national responsibilities do not stop at the border.

"Today, he remains among the world's most recognizable and respected personalities. His is an important voice on issues crucial for developing countries and emerging economies, including an open and equitable international trading system, a sustainable world, the welfare of the poor and human rights and democracy," Singh said.

"For me personally, it has been a privilege to work with President Lula on the international stage, not only on global issues, but also in pursuit of closer and deeper bilateral relations between our two great countries. I found that our meetings not only enriched my perspective on issues, but were also of immense help in shaping our collective efforts to seek consensus on the most contentious global issues. His warmth and his wisdom, his energy and his commitment, his deep empathy for the poor and his concern for the world have left an enduring impression on me," the Prime Minister added.

He said that the India-Brazil relationship has transformed during the time that President Lula was at the helm of affairs in his country.

"For the two of us, however, the relationship was more than a series of agreements. We shared a belief that although our countries were separated by deep oceans, we were united by similar values, challenges and aspirations, and that we were uniquely placed to work together for a better world. His ardent faith in the role and potential of IBSA was one manifestation of that vision," Singh said.

"Today, we are honoured that President Lula has travelled to Delhi to receive this prize named after a great leader of modern India. His policies still serve as a model for developing countries and his personal story is an inspiration for millions around the world. I am confident that his continuing work for democracy and development in Latin America and Africa will touch many more lives in the years that lie ahead," Singh said. (ANI)