Former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh was recently conferred a Lifetime Achievement Honour by the India-UK Achievers Honours in London for his contribution to economic and political life.
The Honour, announced at an awards ceremony last week, will be handed over to Dr Singh in New Delhi by the National Indian Students and Alumni Union (NISAU) UK at a later date.
The India-UK Achievers Honours by NISAU UK, in partnership with the British Council in India and the UK's Department for International Trade (DIT), celebrate the achievements of Indian students who studied at British universities and the Lifetime Achievement Honour is a nod to Dr Singh's academic achievements at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge.
"I am very touched by this gesture, which is especially meaningful coming from young people who are the future of our country and of the ties between our two countries," Dr Singh said in a written message.
"The India-UK relationship is indeed especially defined by our educational partnership. The founding fathers of our nation, Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Dr B.R. Ambedkar, Sardar Patel and many others studied in the UK and went on to become great leaders, leaving a legacy which continues to inspire India and the world. Over the years countless Indian students have had the opportunity to study in the UK," said the 90-year-old economist, who served as prime minister from 2004-2014.
To mark 75 years of India's independence, the first-ever India UK Achievers Honours covered 75 high achievers and some key Outstanding Achievers who bolster the India-UK diaspora living bridge.
British Indian peer Lord Karan Bilimoria received the Living Legend Honour at the awards ceremony on January 25.
"All who have won awards are the living bridge that is spoken about by both countries. Their achievements create inspiration here in the UK and in India," said Bilimoria, a patron of NISAU UK.
Opposition Labour Party MP Virendra Sharma, another a patron of NISAU UK, was also conferred the Living Legend Honour.
"India and the UK are natural collaborators, allies and friends. Where once was a relationship based on exploitation, now rests a partnership of equals, representing democracy, industry and technology," said Sharma.
According to NISAU UK, a plethora of nominations went through a rigorous selection process by an eminent jury, shortlisting India's 75 top achievers and eight outstanding achievers.
"Working on the Honours has been an unforgettable experience for the NISAU UK team. We have always known that the work of Indian graduates of British universities was extraordinary, but I don't think even we realised just how profoundly world-changing it is," said Sanam Arora, NISAU UK Chair.
Among the Outstanding Achievers honoured included Bollywood actor Parineeti Chopra, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) spokesperson Raghav Chadha, Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla and Indian women's football team goalkeeper Aditi Chauhan.
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