PM Modi was conferred the Seoul Peace Prize in an award ceremony organised by Seoul Peace Prize Foundation. (Image source: @MEAIndia) Photograph:( Twitter )
While accepting the Seoul Peace Prize, the Prime Minister said, 'this award belongs not to me personally, but to the people of India' for the 'the success that India has achieved in less than five years'.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday ended his two-day visit to South Korea. The key highlights of the last day of his visit included bilateral talks with President Moon Jae-in and the Seoul Peace Prize ceremony.
PM Modi on Friday was honoured with the Seoul Peace Prize, becoming the 14th recipient of the award since 1990 when the award was established to commemorate the 1988 Olympic Games in South Korea. The Peace Prize was conferred in recognition of PM's efforts for regional stability, world peace and economic policies that have improved the lives of Indians. He also becomes the first Indian ever to receive the award.
While accepting the award, the Prime Minister said, "this award belongs not to me personally, but to the people of India" for the "the success that India has achieved in less than five years, powered by the strengths and skills of one point three billion Indians".
Highlighting the issue of cross border terror while receiving the peace prize, PM said, "Like Korea, India has also suffered the pain of cross-border strife. Our endeavour towards peaceful development has only too often been de-railed by cross-border terrorism. While India has been the victim of cross-border terrorism for over 40 years, all nations today face this grave threat which respects no borders.".
Calling on those who "believe in humanity to join hands" to completely "eradicate terrorist networks and their financing, supply channels, terrorist ideology and propaganda" PM said, "Only by doing so can we replace hate with harmony; destruction with development; and transform the landscape of violence and vendetta into a postcard for peace."
India has been highlighting the issue of terror emanating from Pakistan to the world community in the aftermath of the Pulwama attack for which Pakistan based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammad has taken the responsibility.
On the Korean peace process, PM Modi lauded South Korean President Moon Jae-in and said he deserves "all the praise for the role he has played in overcoming the legacy of mutual distrust and suspicion between DPRK and the international community and bringing them on the discussion table" which is "no small achievement." He also stated the Indian government's "strong support to the ongoing dialogue process" between the two Koreas, the DPRK and the US.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is all set to met US President Donald Trump for the second US-North Korea summit in Vietnam on February 27 and 28. They met last year in Singapore for the first summit.
The Prime Minister also spoke on India's economic success saying "India’s growth story is not only good for the people of India but also for the entire world" since "We live in an increasingly connected world."
Previous recipients of the award include German Chancellor Angela Merkel and United Nation chiefs like Ban Ki-Moon, Kofi Annan. Four of the recipients of the Seoul Peace Prize later got the Nobel Peace Prize. $200,000 (1 crore 35 lakh rupees) award money will be given for 'Namami Gange' project for the cleaning of river Ganga.
Earlier in the day, PM held a bilateral meeting with President Moon at the Blue House which is the official residence of the South Korean President. In the press statement, PM Modi thanked "President Moon for his support" on the issue of denouncing terror and said that the "world has to move beyond just talks now." President Moon Jae-In also condemned the Pulwama terror attack.
India's Home Ministry and South Korea's national police signed an MoU on "Transnational crimes and police cooperation" to act tough on terror. PM Modi emphasised economic cooperation and stated, "the South Korean model is the best for India"
India is among the top 10 trade partners of South Korea and the 6th largest export destination for Korean goods. The trade volume between the two nations reached 21.5 billion dollars for the calendar year 2018 with both aiming to achieve $50 billion trade by 2030. Both sides have also fast-tracked the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).
The Prime Minister further said, "India's Act East and Korea's new southern policy is strengthening and giving depth to the strategic partnership between the two countries".
PM Modi reiterated India's policy on the inclusivity and centrality of the Indo-Pacific and the ASEAN. The MoUs between India and South Korea were signed in the field of trade and industry, startup, communication.
The Prime Minister started his day by paying his respects at the National Cemetery in Seoul.
On day one, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed South Korean business leaders, unveiled a bust of Mahatma Gandhi at the Seoul Campus of the Yonsei University and interacted with the Indian community in the country.
Addressing the Indian community in the evening, a permanent fixture in his agenda overseas, he talked about economic reforms brought about by his government and how Goods and Service Tax (GST) united the country economically. He said, "India is the brightest spot for investment in the world".
At the Seoul Campus of the Yonsei University the Prime Minister, in the presence of the South Korean President, unveiled a bust of Mahatma Gandhi. Established in 1885, it is one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the country.
Speaking at the unveiling event the PM said, "the father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi can show the way in dealing with issues like climate change and terror."
PM Modi also addressed South Korean business leaders at the India-Korea Business Symposium and launched the India-Korea Startup Hub.
The Prime Minister also gifted a sapling of holy Bodhi tree to the people of Kimhae through the mayor of Kimhae Heo Seong Gon. Kimhae city has a historic connect with India, it is believed that Princess Suriratna of Ayodhya had gone there in 48 CE and married Korean King Suro and started a dynasty. Princess Suriratna is known as Heo Hwang-ok in South Korea.
PM Modi had visited South Korea in May 2015 while South Korean president Moon Jae-in visited India in July 2018.