NEW YORK (TIP): Three Indian Americans and a former U.S. ambassador to India were announced Jan. 25 as this year’s recipients of the coveted Padma awards.
Retired diplomat Robert Blackwill – who served as the U.S. ambassador to India from 2001 to 2003 – was awarded the Padma Bhushan, India’s third-highest civilian honor. Indian American economist Avinash Dixit bagged a Padma Vibhushan. American teacher Salman Amin Sal Khan, and Ajaypal Singh Banga, President and CEO of MasterCard have been selected for Padma Shri awards. The awards are given in various disciplines/ fields of activities, art, social work, public affairs, science and engineering, trade and industry, medicine, literature and education, sports, civil service, etc.
‘Padma Vibhushan’ is awarded for exceptional and distinguished service; ‘Padma Bhushan’ for distinguished service of high order and ‘Padma Shri’ for distinguished service in any field. The awards are announced on the occasion of Republic Day every year.
Indian American economist Avinash Dixit was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second-highest civilian honor. Dixit, one of the world’s leading economists developed the Dixit-Stiglitz model with Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz in 1977.
Education entrepreneur Salman ‘Sal’ Khan was awarded the Padma Shri award, India’s fourth-highest civilian award. Khan founded the Khan Academy in 2009. In 2012, Time magazine named Khan in its annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world.
Ajaypal Banga was awarded the Padma Shri award; Singh ascended to the role of MasterCard’s CEO and president in July 2010. He had previously served as the global credit card company’s president and chief operating officer. Banga formerly served for four years as the chairman of the U.S. India Business Council, which aims to forge new markets and business opportunities between the two countries. He stepped down in September 2015 as John Chambers, executive chairman of Cisco, was elected the USIBC’s next chairman.
Last year, President Barack Obama appointed Banga to serve as a member of the President’s Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations.