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New Delhi: Congress MP and former UN diplomat Shashi Tharoor has been conferred with the highest French civilian honour, ‘Chevalier de la Legion d’honneur’ for being a ‘friend’ of France and working for deepening Indo-French ties.

Tharoor was conferred with honour by Chairman of the French Senate Gerard Larcher, at an event in French Residence.

“The highest French civilian award comes in recognition of Tharoor’s tireless efforts to deepen Indo-French ties, commitment to international peace and cooperation, and as a long-standing friend of France,” the French Embassy in India said in a statement.

The statement appreciated the ‘remarkable personality’ of Thiruvananthapuram MP for his range of talents.

“Be it as a diplomat at the United Nations, where he worked to respond to some of the world’s toughest crises, and served as Under-Secretary-General, as a renowned writer who has authored works imbued with the spirit of a contemporary Indian odyssey, or as a statesman in India,” the statement added.

Tharoor has also held the portfolios of Minister of State for External Affairs, and Human Resource Development. He has also served on key parliamentary standing committees, including External Affairs, and Communications and Information Technology.

He is the author of numerous books of non-fiction and fiction, some of which have been translated into French, the Embassy stated.

The diplomat-turned-politician served in many positions at the United Nations. He was also appointed Director of Communications and Special Projects and Executive Assistant to Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Conferring the honour on Tharoor, Chairman of the French Senate Gerard Larcher called him a “friend of France”, and a ‘Francophone’ with a keen understanding of the country and its culture.

“Through his outstanding career as a diplomat, author and politician, Shashi Tharoor has embraced the world with a thirst for knowledge and an intelligence that has



led him to live several lifetimes in one, and all of them in service to India and a better world. Dr Tharoor is also a true friend of France, a Francophone with a keen understanding of France and its culture. Through this award which I have the privilege to confer, the French Republic recognizes your accomplishments, your friendship, your love of France, your commitment to a fairer world,” he said.

‘An Era of Darkness’, ‘Pax Indica’ and ‘The Great Indian Novel’ are some of the most popular names among the plethora of books written by Tharoor.

The three-time Congress MP said that he is ‘immensely honoured’ upon the conferral and said that this award is an acknowledgement of the deepening Franco-Indian relations.

“I am immensely honoured to accept the Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur. As someone who admires France, its people, their refinement, their language, and their culture, especially their literature and cinema, I am deeply humbled to be conferred your country’s highest civilian honour. To my mind, the conferral of this award to an Indian is an acknowledgment of the deepening of Franco-Indian relations, and the continuity of the warmth that has been a feature of this relationship for a very long time,” Tharoor said.

The former diplomat said that he is looking forward to continuing his efforts to further nurture the Indo-France friendship.

“This honour, in a sense, is not just a celebration of individual achievement but also reflects the collective efforts of both our countries in fostering cultural exchange and diplomatic ties, a relationship forged through the pillars of mutual respect, admiration, and collaboration that have allowed this unique association to flourish over the years. I look forward to continuing my own efforts towards nurturing this friendship and promoting further cooperation between India and France, for the betterment of our shared global community and to safeguard the common values that underpin our basic humanity,” he added.





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