What do Angela Merkel, Mother Teresa, Robert Mugabe, Josip Broz Tito, Hosni Mubarak and Martin Luther King have in common? Not much, but they do share the honor of being recipients of the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding.
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel is the latest in the line of winners of the Nehru Award.
Ms. Merkel, the German Chancellor, is the latest in a long and diverse line of winners that also includes the likes of Nelson Mandela, Indira Gandhi, Yasser Arafat and Aung San Suu Kyi.
A jury headed by India’s vice president Shri Mohammad Hamid Ansari decided to give the award for 2009 to Ms. Merkel for her “personal devotion and enormous efforts for sustainable and equitable development, for good governance and understanding and for the creation of a world better positioned to handle the emerging challenges of the 21st century,” the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement Monday.
“She has been sympathetic to developing countries and our own developmental imperatives and has led the search for a balanced solution based on principles of equity and sensitivity to the interests of the developing world,” it added.
Just like Mr. Mugabe then. In fairness he won the award way back in 1989, when his principles of equity and sensitivity were probably slightly less frayed.
The award, which also includes prize money of 10 million rupees ($223,799), was introduced in 1965 – the winner that year was U.N. Secretary General U. Thant – as a tribute to the memory of the late Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
Ms. Merkel has been honored as Germany and India continue to promote cooperation in areas ranging from trade to counter-terrorism. The German Chancellor is set to visit India this year, the 60th anniversary of the formal establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Germany.
The two countries have set a bilateral trade target of €20 billion by 2012, up from a record €15 billion in 2010. Trade has grown by an average of 16% annually since 2003, crossing the €10 billion mark in 2006, according to figures on the website of the German Embassy in New Delhi. Among foreign investors in India, Germany ranks eighth .
But the relationship hasn’t all been plain sailing, with Germany earlier this year reportedly halting a mechanism that had enabled India to pay for Iranian oil imports through Hamburg-based European-Iranian Trade Bank.
Germany and India have both taken up non-permanent seats on the UN Security Council this year. Ms. Merkel and Mr. Singh have said they will work together to advance reforms of the U.N. Security Council, notably increasing the number of permanent and non-permanent seats.
Fuente: India Real Time