Priti Patel, the UK Government’s Secretary of State for International Development and first ever UK-India Diaspora Champion, has been awarded India’s highest honour for members of the Indian Diaspora. The Pravasi Bharatiya Samman award was granted to Ms Patel by the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee for her exceptional contribution to national and international politics, her role strengthening UK-India relations, and for supporting the Indian Diaspora in the UK.
The award was presented to Ms Patel by the Indian High Commissioner to the UK, His Excellency Mr. Y.K. Sinha, at special ceremony at India House in London. In receiving this prestigious award, Ms Patel joins an illustrious list of previous winners. Ms Patel, who is also the first female Indian origin MP to join the UK Cabinet, said:
“It is a tremendous honour and privilege to be given the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman award. This is one of the highest honours a member of the Indian Diaspora can receive and I am humbled and grateful to have been given this award.”
“I have had the pleasure of working closely with so many members of the Diaspora here in the UK and with the Indian Government over a number of years. The relationship between our two great countries is getting stronger by the day as we trade more and share more cultural ties. The Indian Diaspora in the UK are fantastic at keeping this relationship strong and work hard every day to support the UK and India reach our potential.”
“The UK is fortunate to have over one and half million members of the Indian Diaspora contributing to our country. I pay tribute to all members of the Indian Diaspora in the UK and this great award serves as an inspiration to me to carry on standing up and championing the interests of the Diaspora and working to strengthen the UK’s relationship with India.”
The Rt Hon Priti Patel MP was elected to represent the Witham parliamentary constituency in 2010 and re-elected with an increased majority in 2015. In 2013 the then Prime Minister David Cameron appointed her as the first ever UK-India Diaspora Champion and she has accompanied him on official visits to India and helped facilitate the visit from Prime Minister Modi to the UK.
Ms Patel has also served in Government as Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury 2014-15), Minter of State for Employment (2015-16), and as Secretary of State for International Development (2016 to present). Ms Patel is also the first female Indian origin MP to hold a Cabinet position in the UK Government.
In January 2017 it was announced by the Indian Government that Ms Patel was to be awarded the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman.