Ratan Tata, the former chairman of the Tata Group which is one of the largest employers in Britain, has been honoured by Queen Elizabeth with a GBE (Knight Grand Cross), one of the UK’s highest civilian awards.
“The Queen has been graciously pleased to approve the following honorary British awards in 2014... GBE for Ratan Naval Tata, KBE, for services to UK/India relations, inward investment to the UK and philanthropy,” an announcement by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said on Thursday.
Mr. Tata (76) is the only Indian among five foreigners to be awarded as part of the ‘Honorary British Awards to Foreign Nationals’ for 2014, others including Japanese and Greek nationals for services to economic and cultural ties with the UK.
Mr. Tata, who now holds the honorary position of Chairman Emeritus of Tata Sons, had been conferred a KBE (Knight Commander) by the Queen back in 2009 — a year after the Indian conglomerate under his chairmanship had acquired the flagging British luxury car brands Jaguar Land Rover (JLR).
The Tata Group has since revived the fortunes of the company and also emerged as one of the largest employers in Britain, employing nearly 60,000 people across the country.
British Prime Minister David Cameron, whose office would be behind this year’s honour recommendations to the Queen, has often praised the Tatas for single-handedly lifting Britain’s manufacturing fortunes.
Earlier this year, he hailed JLR as a “great story” of the 500 million pounds investment by Tata Motors in a new plant in the West Midlands region.
Mr. Cameron had said: “This is a great story of the future of Britain. We congratulate Jaguar Land Rover for the investment they are making, which epitomises what we need to happen to the British economy.
“With 85 per cent of production going overseas, everything that is being done here is what we want. This shows Britain has an amazing high—tech, advanced manufacturing future. We are very excited.”
Besides his business contributions, Mr. Tata is also recognised for his contributions across various fields in the UK including academia.
The Sir Ratan Tata Fellowship, now in its 18th year, works in collaboration with the London School of Economics to offer an eight—month fellowship to scholars in the social sciences with experience of research on South Asia to work at the LSE Asia Research Centre (ARC).