Washington: “India is a part of me and I carry it with me wherever I go,” Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai has said, as he received the prestigious Padma Bhushan award from the Indian envoy to the US.
Indian-American Mr Pichai was awarded the Padma Bhushan for 2022 in the Trade and Industry category. The Madurai-born Mr Pichai was named one of the 17 awardees earlier this year.
He received India’s third-highest civilian award in the presence of his close family members in San Francisco on Friday.
— Taranjit Singh Sandhu (@SandhuTaranjitS) December 2, 2022
“I am deeply grateful to the Indian government and the people of India for this immense honour. It is incredibly meaningful to be honoured in this way by the country that shaped me,” 50-year-old Mr Pichai said while accepting the award from India’s Ambassador to the US, Taranjit Singh Sandhu.
“India is a part of me. I carry it with me wherever I go. (Unlike this beautiful award which I will keep somewhere safe),” he said.
“I was fortunate to grow up in a family that cherished learning and knowledge, with parents who sacrificed a lot to make sure I had opportunities to explore my interests,” Mr Pichai said.
India’s Consul General in San Francisco, T V Nagendra Prasad, was also present during the event.
Mr Pichai said that it had been amazing to return to India many times over the years to see the rapid pace of technological change.
The innovations created in India are benefitting people around the world – from digital payments to voice technology, he said.
“I look forward to continuing the great partnership between Google and India, as we work together to bring the benefits of technology to more people,” he said.
Businesses are seizing the opportunities for digital transformation, and more people have access to the internet than ever before, including in rural villages, Mr Pichai said.
“Prime Minister Modi’s Digital India vision has certainly been an accelerator for that progress and I’m proud that Google continues to invest in India, partnering with governments, businesses, and communities over two transformative decades,” he said.
“Every new technology that arrived at our doorstep made our lives better. And that experience put me on a path to Google, and the chance to help build technology that improves the lives of people all over the world,” he said.
Mr Pichai said he sees so much opportunity ahead.
On India taking over the G20 presidency, Mr Pichai said: “It’s an amazing opportunity to build consensus on strengthening the global economy by advancing an internet that is open, connected, secure, and works for everyone. That’s a goal we share, and are committed to advancing with you.” India formally assumed the G20 Presidency on Thursday.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to do this work together and bring the benefits of technology to more people,” Mr Pichai said.