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regular-article-logo Thursday, 25 April 2024

Sunil Mittal becomes first Indian to be knighted by Britain's King Charles III

The KBE is among the highest honours conferred by the British Sovereign to civilians. It is awarded in an honorary capacity to foreign nationals

PTI New Delhi Published 29.02.24, 12:06 AM
Sunil Mittal

Sunil Mittal File Photo

Telecom tycoon Sunil Bharti Mittal has been awarded Honorary Knighthood by the British King in recognition of his services to the UK and India business relations.

Mittal, Founder and Chairman of Bharti Enterprises, which owns the country's second largest telecom firm Airtel, is the first Indian to be awarded the Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE) by King Charles III, his company said in a statement.

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The KBE is among the highest honours conferred by the British Sovereign to civilians. It is awarded in an honorary capacity to foreign nationals.

Mittal, whose Airtel Africa is listed on the London Stock Exchange, in recent months led the revival of OneWeb (now known as Eutelsat), leading a consortium with the UK Government and other strategic investors to offer satellite broadband services globally.

He is a member of the India-UK CEO Forum as well as a member of the Vice Chancellor's Circle of Advisors at the University of Cambridge.

He also served on the governing body of the London Business School (LBS) and as a member of the India Advisory Group at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

Commenting on the award, Mittal, 66, said, "I am deeply humbled by this gracious recognition from His Majesty, King Charles. UK and India have historical relations, which are now entering a new era of increased cooperation and collaboration".

"I remain committed to working towards strengthening the economic and bilateral trade relationships between our two great nations. I am thankful to the Government of UK, whose support and keen attention to the needs of business has been critical in making the country an attractive investment destination," he said.

Back home, he was bestowed with the Padma Bhushan, the third-highest civilian honours, in 2007.

"The UK and India have historical relations, which are now entering a new era of increased cooperation and collaboration. I remain committed to working towards strengthening the economic and bilateral trade relationships between our two great nations," he said.

The KBE, conferred for a pre-eminent contribution in any field of activity, is awarded in an honorary capacity to foreign nationals. While the Knighthood conferred on UK nationals gives them the title of Sir or Dame, non-UK nationals awarded the honour add KBE (or DBE for women) after their name.

Previous Indian recipients of the Honorary KBE include Ratan Tata (2009), Ravi Shankar (2001) and Jamshed Irani (1997), conferred by the late Queen Elizabeth II.

The investiture ceremony will be conducted by the British High Commissioner to India at a later date, when he will formally hand over the royal insignia to Mittal.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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