WALTHAM, MA—Former US Ambassadors to India and three Indian-Americans have won the prestigious Padma awards, the admired civilian awards conferred by the government of India. The recipients from the United States are: former ambassador Robert Blackwill, Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga, economist Avinash Dixit and entrepreneur Salman ‘Sal’ Khan.
Former diplomat Robert Blackwill, who served as the U.S. ambassador to India from 2001 to 2003, will receive a Padma Bhushan, India’s third-highest civilian honor.
Banga, president and CEO of Mastercard, is the recipient of the Padma Shri, India’s fourth-highest civilian award. The American India Foundation recently appointed him as Co-Chai
r of the non-profit philanthropic organization. In addition to his role at MasterCard, Banga is a member of President Obama’s Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations. He serves on the board of directors of the U.S.-India Business Council, where he recently completed his tenure as its longest-serving chairman. he is also a member of the U.S.-India CEO Forum. He is a fellow of the Foreign Policy Association and was awarded the Foreign Policy Association Medal in 2012.
Avinash Dixit, a former Princeton University economist considered to be a contender for the Nobel Prize, will receive the Padma Vibhushan award, India’s second-highest civilian award. Dixit is known for developing the Dixit-Stiglitz model with Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz. Among several books, Dixit is the author of “The Art of Strategy: A Game Theorist’s Guide to Success in Business and Life.”
Education entrepreneur Salman ‘Sal’ Khan is the recipient of the Padma Shri award, India’s fourth-highest civilian award. He is the founder of the Khan Academy In 2012, the Time magazine named Khan in its annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world.
On Jan. 25, the Indian government announced the names of the 112 notable personalities to get Padma awards in 2016. The list included spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, legendary actor Rajinikanth, sportspersons Saina Nehwal and Sania Mirza, late industrialist Dhirubhai Ambani, and nine film celebrities.
This year, Indian President Pranab Mukherjee will confer 10 Padma Vibhushan, 19 Padma Bhushan and 83 Padma Shri awards on people from different walks of life.
As many as 19 awardees are women and 10 are foreigners, non-resident Indians and People of Indian Origin (including one posthumous). Four of those on the honour list are posthumous awardees.