Wednesday, February 28, 2024

H.M King Charles III confers Honorary Knighthood (KBE) on Sunil Bharti Mittal for advancing India – UK business relations

New Delhi. Wednesday, Feb 28, 2024: Sunil Bharti Mittal has become the first Indian citizen to be awarded Honorary Knighthood, the Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE), by 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. 

Sunil Bharti Mittal 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”

He added, “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.”

In 2007, Sunil was bestowed with the Padma Bhushan, one of India’s highest civilian honours, awarded to individuals for demonstrating distinguished services of high order. 

Bharti in the UK

Bharti’s Airtel Africa was successfully listed on the London Stock Exchange in 2019, and is a constituent of the FTSE100 Index. 

Sunil successfully led the revival of OneWeb (now Eutelsat), leading a consortium with the UK Government and other strategic investors to offer satellite broadband services globally. 

Mittal, a member of the India-UK CEO Forum, has been awarded the Honorary Doctor of Civil Law from Newcastle University and an Honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Leeds. 

He is a member of the Vice Chancellor’s Circle of Advisors at the University of Cambridge. 

Additionally, Sunil Bharti Mittal has served on the Governing Body of the London Business School (LBS) and as a Member of the India Advisory Group at London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). 

Notes to the Editor


1. About The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire among the highest honours conferred by the British Sovereign to civilians.


a) The Order of the British Empire was established by King George V in 1917 to honour those who had served in a non-combative role and expanded the Order to reward contributions to the Arts, Sciences, Charitable work and Public Service.


b) Knighthood, the Knight Commander (KBE), is conferred for a pre-eminent contribution in any field of activity (usually, but not exclusively, at national level), or in a capacity recognized by peer groups as inspirational and significant nationally and demonstrates sustained commitment.


c) The KBE 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 conferred with the Honour add KBE (or DBE for women) after their name instead of using titles such as Sir or Dame. Previous recipients of the Honorary KBE include Ratan Tata (2009), Ravi Shankar (2001) and Jamshed Irani (1997). 

d) Similarly, for UK citizens being conferred knighthood, the investiture ceremony is led by a Member of the Royal Family while in case of a non UK citizen, the investiture ceremony is done by the High Commissioner or Ambassador of the UK formally handing over the insignia

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