Late Sultan Qaboos bin Said was a strong advocate of India-Oman friendship

India on Monday conferred the Gandhi Peace Prize 2019 on late Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said of Oman, the architect of the special ties between the two countries.

Announcing the award, the Ministry of Culture said 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.

Sultan Qaboos, who passed away in January this year, played an important role in supporting peace efforts in various regional disputes and conflicts.

"The Gandhi Peace Prize 2019 being conferred on His Late Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said of Oman is a fitting recognition of His Majesty's standing as a leader of remarkable compassion, and of his contributions to furthering peace and prosperity in the region," Prime Minister Modi said on Twitter.

In another post, the Indian Prime Minister said, "His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said was a strong advocate of India-Oman friendship, and took special care of the welfare of the Indian community in Oman. I cherished my interactions with His Majesty, and benefited from his wise insights on many subjects".

The Gandhi Peace Prize is given to individuals and institutions for Social, Economic and Political transformation through Non-Violence and other Gandhian methods.

The selection procedure did not allow for the Prize to be awarded posthumously but given the contribution of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said towards peace, non-violence and amelioration of human sufferings and special relationship with India, an exception was made as a special gesture to honour him, a person familiar with the development said.

Sultan Qaboos had studied in India and always maintained a special relationship with India. Under his leadership, India and Oman became strategic partners and the mutually beneficial, comprehensive partnership strengthened and scaled newer heights.

Prime Minister Modi had recalled the contribution of Sultan Qaboos to India-Oman ties when he passed away by 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 had remembered him as “visionary leader and statesman” and a “beacon of peace for our region and the world.”

The Ministry of Culture also announced that Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman has been conferred with the Gandhi Peace Award for 2020.

The Gandhi Peace Prize is an annual award instituted by the Government of India since 1995, the 125th Birth Anniversary commemoration year of Mahatma Gandhi.

The past awardees include luminaries like Dr. Julius Nyerere, Former President of Tanzania; Dr. Gerhard Fischer, Federal Republic of Germany; Ramakrishna Mission; Baba Amte (Shri Murlidhar Devidas Amte); Late Dr. Nelson Mandela, former President of South Africa; Grameen Bank of Bangladesh; Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa; Shri Chandi Prasad Bhatt & Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

The award carries an amount of Rs 1 crore, a citation, a plaque and an exquisite traditional handicraft/ handloom item.