Cardiff-based Anglo-Indian businessman Raj Aggarwal has been awarded the rank of Honorary Lieutenant Commander in the Royal Navy following a ceremony in Wales.
Mr Aggarwal, who also holds the position of India’s Honorary Consul in Wales, was presented with his commission by Admiral Sir Philip Jones KCB, ADC during an investiture ceremony at HMS Cambria.
Mr Aggarwal emigrated from Kenya to Wales in 1967 and studied pharmacy at Cardiff University. Following a career with Boots, he went on to establish his own chain of pharmacies in Cardiff and is the chairman of RK Aggarwal Ltd. In his position as chairman of Kidney Wales he was instrumental in changing the opt-out law for organ donations in Wales.
He said: “It is my great honour to accept this position in the Royal Navy as one of the ‘special’ honoraries. I want to use this position to create greater diversity in the Navy, to show the community that the Navy will be supportive and that there are amazing careers on offer, with first-rate skills training and opportunities to see the world.
Mr Aggarwal added: “I deeply admire our Royal Navy, they are our Senior Service and are respected worldwide. They work that they do is usually away from home and out of sight and we hear very little of their service, they just go about their duties with the utmost professionalism and commitment to our country. Whether it be humanitarian relief, peace keeping missions, protecting trade routes, counter narcotics operations, our Navy is there, quietly looking after us and keeping Britain safe.”
The event was attended by a number of political figures, as well as representatives from the Royal Navy and the Indian community in Wales. There was also a performance of traditional Indian music and dance.
Also present at Sunday’s investiture ceremony was Alun Cairns, Secretary of State for Wales; Royal Marines Brigadier Graeme “Jock” Fraser, head of the Royal Navy in Wales; Morfudd Meredith, Lord Lieutenant of South Glamorgan; Commander Steve Fry, CO of HMS Cambria; Cardiff’s Lord Mayor Diane Rees and Commodore Sameer Saxena representing the Indian Navy.
Brigadier Fraser added: “Raj is a great friend and advocate of the Naval service and his appointment will deepen the relationship between the community and the Royal Navy.”
Main image: (Left to right) Brigadier Graeme Jock Fraser; Secretary of State Alun Cairns; Raj Aggarwal; Commander Steve Fry.