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10 foreigners among Padma awardees

New Delhi, January 25

Out of 153 national civilian awards announced on Monday, 10 went to foreigners, including five of Indian-origin.

While there was no foreigner in the Padma Vibhushan, four foreigners, all of them of Indian-origin, were awarded the Padma Bhushan. There were six foreigners in the third category of Padma Sri awards, including a former Ambassador of Poland to India.

While Satya Narayana Nadella, Sundararajan Pichai and Madhur Jaffery are the well-known Americans of Indian origin who were awarded the second highest Padma Bhushan, a fourth Indian Sanjaya Rajaram, though not as well known and who passed away last year, made more concrete contribution to the country’s farm sector.

Sanjaya Rajaram was a Mexican scientist who won the 2014 World Food Prize for developing 480 wheat varieties that have been released in 51 countries. This innovation led to an increase in global wheat production by over 20 crore tons. The Government had recognised his contribution earlier as well by awarding him the Padma Shri.

Among the six awardees for Padma Sri, three are Sanskrit scholars from Poland, Ireland and Thailand. One of the winners, Sanskrit scholar from Ireland Rutger Kortenhorst was mentioned by PM Modi in his ‘Mann ki baat’ programme last year. The other two are Chirapat Prapandavidya from Thailand and former Ambassador of Poland to India Maria Christopher Byrski.

Tatiana Lvovna Shaumyan from Russia has been awarded the Padma Sri for her work on India during her long innings at the Center of Indian Studies in the Institute of Oriental Studies, Moscow. Prokar Dasgupta from the UK has been awarded the Padma Sri for his expertise in robotic surgery.

A surprise winner among these people of letters is hotel entrepreneur Ryuko Hira from Japan whose birth name was Kamlesh Punjabi. The owner of several hotel chains, he has been awarded for facilitating Japanese investments to India.

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