OYO, Kunal Nayyar among Indian-origin winners at UK-India Awards

The annual UK-India Awards, which commemorate people and organisations who have had an impact on UK-India ties, saw a host of Indian expats in the limelight. 

Big Bang Theory star Kunal Nayyar (right) with India Inc CEO Manoj Ladwa at the UK-India Awards 2019. Photo courtesy: Twitter/@IndiaIncorp
Big Bang Theory star Kunal Nayyar (right) with India Inc CEO Manoj Ladwa at the UK-India Awards 2019. Photo courtesy: Twitter/@IndiaIncorp

The awards included wins for Indian hospitality start-up Oyo in the Market Entrant of the Year category, British Indian actor Kunal Nayyar (best known for his role as Rajesh Koothrappali on the US sitcom 'The Big Bang Theory'), as Global Indian Icon of the Year and Indian-origin peer and Cobra Beer founder Lord Karan Bilimoria, who was presented with a special Significant Contribution to UK-India Relations Award.

"The UK is a wonderful global power and if there is a special relationship, it is with India," said Bilimoria.

The awards marked the conclusion of the annual UK-India Week, which kicked off on Monday with the first-ever India Day in the Houses of Parliament in London and a three-day Global Leaders’ Summit of panels, speeches and discussions among prominent policy makers and business leaders across the US, UK and India.

Now in its third year, the award winners were selected by an all-women judging panel for the first time, including Director and Chief Counsel of Rolls-Royce plc Deborah D'Aubney and prominent Indian-origin anti-Brexit campaigner Gina Miller.

Veteran British journalist Sir Mark Tully was presented with a 'Lifetime Achievement Award' for his contributions to the UK-India relationship.

Tully, the former Bureau Chief of the BBC, New Delhi, received a standing ovation from the gathering.

"I owe a great debt to India and I have been rewarded way beyond my expectations," said the 83-year-old, who has been previously knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in the UK and conferred with the Padma Bhushan in India.

The Start-up of the Year Award, sponsored by Indian software services major Infosys, was won by Maanch, a new platform that matches funders and receivers to accelerate global sustainable development.

Some of the other winners of the night included British Telecom (BT) in the Social Impact category, Fund of the Year for SoftBank Investment Advisers, Law Firm of the Year for the UK's Baker McKenzie, Trade and Investment Promotion Agency of the Year for Manchester India Partnership, Deal of the Year for EverSource Capital/ Lightsource BP and Finance Organisation of the Year for AXIS Bank Limited.

"All the winners and nominees are inspirational figures at the cutting edge of technology, innovation, business, international relations and culture, who are doing amazing work in making that UK-India partnership a truly winning one," said Manoj Ladwa, Founder & CEO of India Inc, the organisation behind the awards.