London: Raj K Aggarwal, an Anglo-Indian pharmacist and businessman, has been commissioned as the first Indian diplomat in Wales at a special ceremony.
India`s High Commissioner to the UK, Dr Jaimini Bhagwati, presented the Commission of Appointment as Honorary Consul of India in Wales at a function held at the India House last evening.
Aggarwal, who was appointed to the post in September last year, was officially commissioned in the presence of the First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, Wales Police Commissioner Alun Michael and distinguished guests including Lord Bikhu Parikh and Labour MP Virendra Sharma.
Speaking on the occasion, 63-year-old Aggarwal pledged to uphold, defend and promote the interests of both countries.
"India and Wales are my pride and joy. The citizens of India and Wales have strong ties and share the same affection for good food, drink and music....Talents like (poet) Dylan Thomas/Tom Jones...Ravi Shankar, Mohammad Rafi and Lata Mangeshker," Aggarwal said.
He observed that "India is a great, very impressive and diverse super power but Wales though small has its own charms. The coastline, beaches, mountains, farm houses, pubs, castles, temples and the welsh hospitality are unbeatable."
"Wales is so special. Cardiff is one of the most dynamic and enterprising international cities," Aggarwal said.
Describing First Minister Carwyn Jones` visit to Delhi and Mumbai last April as memorable, he said, "the exposure Wales got during your three-day short visit was massive. I know you have made India a special focus with trade missions and specialist teams. This is all good news".
"The evaluation clearly indicates that Indian and Welsh companies are having a serious dialogue," Aggarwal said.
Aggarwal said, over 2,500 Indian students study in 12 Welsh Universities creating strong mutual relationships, and added that Universities like the Russel group Cardiff University are world class.
Bhagwati, the High Commissioner of India, complimented Raj Aggarwal for his efforts to build up Wales-India ties.
He said Tata Consultancy Service and other Indian IT companies have a substantial presence in Wales.
Wales First Minister Carwyn Jones said, "Today is a historic day in terms of relationship between Wales and India. We share so much...Including Wales languages which has its origin in Sanskrit. India is an exceptionally important trading partner and Tatas provide 1000s employment in Wales."
"Raj was responsible for the success of the Wales delegation visit to India last year. Raj is somebody respected not only in Cardiff but in entire Wales," he said.