Sunil Bharti Mittal Receives Honorary Knighthood from Britain King

On February 27th 2024, Bharti Enterprises founder and chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal was awarded an Honorary Knighthood by King Charles III.  He has become the first Indian citizen to receive an Honorary Knighthood from United Kingdom’s King Charles III. The prestigious honor acknowledges Mittal’s efforts in strengthening India-UK economic relations.

About the Award

Mittal received the Insignia of a Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire from Sir Philip Barton, British High Commissioner to India. This makes the business tycoon the first Indian citizen to be conferred an Honorary Knighthood – one of the highest distinctions awarded by the British Crown to foreigners.

As per the official Buckingham Palace announcement, the recognition celebrates Mittal’s “substantial contribution” to the information, communications and technology industry and support for education in India and the UK.

The billionaire philanthropist has been instrumental in leading investments by Indian companies into Britain, emerging as a Flagship Investor under the UK-India Economic Partnership. Mittal expressed pride in receiving the Knighthood both as an Indian and British national.

Career Highlights

A first-generation entrepreneur, 66-year-old Mittal founded Bharti Enterprises in 1976 and grew it into one of India’s top conglomerates. Flagship firm Bharti Airtel is currently the second largest mobile carrier globally.

In 2006, Mittal cemented his pioneering status in the Indian telecom landscape through the overseas acquisition of Zain Africa. This positioned Bharti as the fifth largest wireless group globally at the time with operations across 19 countries.

Beyond telecom, the group has diversified interests in insurance, real estate, education and food under the Bharti brand umbrella. Mittal is hailed as an institution builder credited with instituting corporate governance benchmarks early on. His personal net worth is estimated to be around $11 billion.

Priority Sectors

Mittal has highlighted technology, healthcare, education and skill development as focus areas for Indo-British partnerships in the 21st century knowledge economy. He advocates Indian investments into UK’s technology hubs, Life Sciences clusters and Ed-Tech segments to drive future growth.

As Co-Chair of the India-UK CEO Forum, Mittal has been steering policy initiatives around sustainability, digital transformation, infrastructure and healthcare for post-pandemic bilateral growth.

The business leader is also passionate about fostering research excellence in India through the Bharti Foundation. Its Satya Bharti School of Telecom & Technology partners with IIT Delhi to groom telecom talent.

Reactions to the Award

Indian policymakers have commended Mittal’s knighthood as validation of India’s technology entrepreneurship and soft power globally. The UK government noted that trade between the two democracies currently stands at £24 billion, with the ambition for it to double by 2030.


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