Sporting legend and India's first-ever Olympic medallist in women's boxing, Mary Kom, has been honoured with the Global Indian Icon of the Year award at the annual UK-India Awards in Windsor, south-eastern England.
The 40-year-old former Rajya Sabha member spoke of her 20-year journey of hard work and devoting her life to boxing as she accepted the award from Indian High Commissioner to the UK Vikram Doraiswami at a gala ceremony on Thursday.
"I have been fighting for 20 years, putting in so much effort, hard work in my life, in boxing, it means a lot... making sacrifice for my country, for my family. I really thank from the bottom of my heart for this recognition," she said.
Filmmaker Shekhar Kapur, behind Oscar-nominated 'Elizabeth: The Golden Age' received a Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to the field of cinema across both nations at the awards, organised by India Global Forum (IGF) as part of UK-India Week.
The Nehru Centre in London, the cultural wing of the Indian High Commission, won the UK-India Award for Significant Contribution to UK-India Relations.
"This is one of the most exciting times to be an Indian in the last many centuries, and India's growing economy has made many others, including many Westerners, think differently about India. But India's culture will actually make many others, including many Westerners, think differently period. And it's our privilege at the Nehru Centre to contribute to the growth and to the popularisation of Indian culture in the West," said author Amish Tripathi, Director of the Nehru Centre.
The awards, now in their fifth year, recognise outstanding contributions of leaders in business, professional services, government, culture and social impact, highlighting their remarkable achievements in strengthening bilateral ties.
"These awards are not just about recognising achievements of some outstanding contributors to the UK-India corridor, but also about celebrating the power of collaboration and the limitless potential that lies within our partnership," said IGF founder and chairman Manoj Ladwa.
Spanning across several categories, the UK-India Award for Business Promotion Organisation of the Year was conferred upon the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) UK.
Among the other awards were Market Entrant of the Year for startup investment platform CrowdInvest, Consultancy of the Year for SannamS4, Legal Practice of the Year for Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas and Financial Services Organisation of the Year for ICICI Bank UK Plc. While Mphasis bagged the Technology Company of the Year, Action Aid UK was named as the Social Impact Project of the Year.
The awards were selected from a shortlist by a jury of industry experts and marked the penultimate event of the six-day UK-India Week, which included a special reception hosted by British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at 10 Downing Street during which he committed to working towards a “truly ambitious” free trade agreement (FTA) with India.
"It's not just UK-India Week, but a whole Indian summer… over the next few weeks the eyes of the world will be on India. There's the G20 in New Delhi, I can't wait to be there," he said, indicating plans for a visit for the world leader's summit hosted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in September.