Sheikh Hasina receives Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development

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New Delhi, Jan 12 (ANI): President Pratibha Patil on Tuesday conferred the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development for 2009 to Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Speaking on the occasion, President Patil said that India is committed to strengthen its relationship with Bangladesh.

Both the countries have common challenges, which require close cooperation with each other, she added.

Sheikh Hasina was pleased to receive the honour and said that both India and Bangladesh are committed to peace that was also conceived by Indira Gandhi.

India's success with peace and progress is due largely to the strength of her democracy, nurtured under the stewardship of great and visionary leaders, she added.

Hasina further said that India and Bangladesh have a shared history; common values and ways of life and this relationship would be taken to a higher and meaningful level.

Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, who was also present on the occasion said, "It is a great privilege for me to be present on the occasion of the award of the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development to Her Excellency Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina."

Dr Singh appreciated Bangladesh Prime Minister Hasina's initiatives for socio economic developments of Bangladesh.

"By championing the cause of democracy and pluralism, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has given the people of Bangladesh the means to realize their true potential and strengthen peace and harmony in the country," he added.

Dr Singh further said, "This grand vision of international cooperation would have been very dear to Indiraji's heart and she would have heartily endorsed the honour being conferred today on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina."

Congress President Sonia Gandhi was also present on the occasion.ndia is viewing Hasina's maiden visit as a historic opportunity to build a new and forward-looking relationship, and hopes that its security concerns are addressed.

India on Monday extended one billion dollar line of credit (LoC) to Bangladesh, and the two countries signed five pacts to add impetus to the bilateral ties that had been on the upswing since the last one year.

The five agreements relate to mutual legal assistance in criminal matters, transfer of sentenced persons, fight against terror, organised crime and illegal drug trafficking, power cooperation and cultural exchange programmes.

The two sides also discussed an Indian credit line to build rail tracks in Bangladesh, an easier trading and investment environment and help in dredging of rivers. (ANI)

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