The Government of India has conferred the Gandhi Peace Prize for the year 2019 on the Late Sultan Qaboos bin Said. The annual award was instituted in 1995, the 125th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, and is open to all persons regardless of nationality.
The jury for the Gandhi Peace Prize 2019 was chaired by Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, and comprised two other ex-officio members – the Chief Justice of India and leader of the single largest opposition party in Lok Sabha (Lower House of Parliament). The jury also included Om Birla, Speaker of the Lok Sabha, and Bindeshwar Pathak, founder of Sulabh International Social Service Organisation.
The jury met on March 19, 2021, and unanimously decided to select the Late Sultan Qaboos for the award in recognition of his outstanding contributions to social, economic and political transformation through non-violent and other Gandhian methods.
The award carries an amount of Rs1 crore (RO53,000), a citation, a plaque and a traditional handicraft/handloom item.
‘His Majesty Sultan Qaboos was a visionary leader whose twin policy of moderation and mediation in addressing international issues won him praise and respect across the globe. He played an important role in supporting peace efforts in various regional disputes and conflicts. His Majesty the Sultan was the architect of the special ties between India and Oman.
‘He had studied in India and always maintained a special relationship with India. Under his leadership, India and Oman became strategic partners and our mutually beneficial, comprehensive partnership strengthened and scaled newer heights,’ a press release from the Indian government stated.
Prime Minister Modi had recalled the contribution of the Late Sultan Qaboos to India-Oman ties when he passed away, saying that he was “a true friend of India and provided strong leadership for developing a strategic partnership between India and Oman”. The prime minister also remembered him as a “visionary leader and statesman” and “beacon of peace for our region and the world”.
The Gandhi Peace Prize recognises the unparalleled vision and leadership of the Late Sultan Qaboos in strengthening relations between India and Oman, and his efforts to promote peace and non-violence in the Gulf region, the statement added.
Previous winners of the award include Tanzania’s Dr Julius Nyerere, Germany’s Gerhard Fischer, South Africa’s Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu, the Czech Republic’s Vaclav Havel and Japan’s Yohei Sasakawa.
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