As part of its mandate of promoting India’s cultural relations with other countries through various instrumentalities involving people-to-people contact and understanding, ICCR has instituted the following awards for the foreign nationals for their contributions to Indian cause in respective fields:

a) Bharat Mitra Samman - Indology

Distinguished Indologist Award instituted by ICCR in 2015 to recognize eminent Indologists who have made outstanding contribution to Indian cause, by studying / teaching / doing research in India’s philosophy, thought, history, art, culture, Indian languages, literature, civilization, society etc., has been renamed as “Bharat Mitra Samman - Indology”.

Sr. No. Year Name of Awardee Country
1 2015 Prof. Heinrich Freiherr Von Stietencron Germany
2 2016 Prof. Yu Long Yu China
3 2017 Prof. Hiroshi Marui Japan
4 2018 Prof. Werner Menski UK
5 2019 Prof. Geo Lyong Lee South Korea
- - Dr. Vishwa Adluri USA
6 2020 Sh. Rajiv Malhotra USA
7 2021 Mr. Jeffrey Armstrong Canada
8 2022 Dr. Joanna Jurewicz Poland
9 2023 Mr. Lungtaen Gyatso Bhutan

b) Bharat Mitra Samman - Sanskrit

World Sanskrit Award instituted by ICCR in 2015 to recognize eminent Sanskrit Scholars who have made outstanding contribution to Indian cause, by studying / teaching / doing research in Sanskrit language and literature, has been renamed as “Bharat Mitra Samman – Sanskrit”.

Sr. No. Year Name of Awardee Country
1 2015 Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Thailand
2 2016 Prof. George Cardona USA
3 2018 Prof. Ashok Narhar Aklujkar Canada
4 2019 Prof. Lim Geun Dong South Korea
5 2020 Mr. Rutger Kortenhorst Ireland
6 2021 Dr. Boris Alekseevich Zakharin Russia
7 2022 Ms. Vlasta Pacheiner Klander Slovenia
8 2023 Dr. Vasundhara Kavali Filliozat France

c) Bharat Mitra Samman – Distinguished Alumni

India has always been an attractive destination for higher education for foreign students and scholars to enrich their academic excellence. Since Independence, Government of India has always welcomed foreign students to study in India. ICCR has an extensive scholarship programme for foreign students. It annually disburses large number of scholarships to students from countries across the world to pursue academic and other courses in Indian performing/visual arts at under-graduate, post-graduate and research levels in Indian institutions. Foreign students who studied in India are India’s goodwill ambassadors and over a period of time, have achieved influential positions in their respective countries. Recognizing the achievements of foreign students who studied in India, Distinguished Alumni Award was instituted by ICCR in 2015 to recognize ICCR Alumni “who have made significant achievements in his/her field and/or have made outstanding contribution to the promotion of understanding, goodwill and friendship between India and their country”. The award has been renamed as “Bharat Mitra Samman - Distinguished Alumni”.

Ever since the inception of the award in 2015, the following have been selected for the award:-

Sr. No. Year Name of Awardee Country
1 2015 H.E. Mr. Le Luong Minh Vietnam
- - H.E. Ms Zenebu Tadesse Woldetsadik Ethiopia
- - Mrs. Milena Salvini France
2 2016 Dr. Soe Win Myanmar
- - Mrs. Sarita Boodhoo Mauritius
- - Prof. I. Ketut Widnya Indonesia
- - Dr. Laura Gibratovna Yerekesheva Kazakhstan
- - Dr. Galina Rousseva Sokolova Bulgaria
3 2017 Ms. Rezwana Choudhury Bannya Bangladesh
- - Ms. Aishath Safoora Maldives
- - Dr. Saman Kelegama (Posthumously) Sri Lanka
- - Ms. Dollaporn Phukkhong Thailand
- - Dr. Sirojiddin S Nurmatov Uzbekistan
4 2018 H.E. Dr. Kaba Urgessa Dinssa Ethiopia
- - Mr. Bui Ba Bong Vietnam
- - Dr. Constantino Xavier Portugal
- - Mr. Ajmal Hameed Abdulrahimza Afghanistan
- - Mr. Damcho Dorji Bhutan
5 2019 Mr. Mohammad Mirwais Balkhi Afghanistan
- - Ms. Muqaddesa Yourish Afghanistan
- - Ms. Monica de la Fuente Spain
- - Mr. Tendai Padenga Zimbabwe
- - Mr. Odbayar Jagarnomch Mongolia
6 2020 Ms. Martine Metayer France
- - Dr. RK Lal Mervin Dharmasiri Sri Lanka
- - Dr. Riyad Mustafa Abushehadeh Palestine
- - Mr. Rateb Noori Afghanistan
- - Dr. Francesca Cassio Italy
7 2021 Mr. Sonam Dorji Bhutan
- - Mrs. Eat Sophea Cambodia
- - Dr. Oscar Riembau Pujol Spain
- - Dr. Ergogie Tesfaye Woldemeskel Ethiopia
- - Dr. Irina Glushkova Russia
8 2022 Prof. Dimitrios Vassiliadis Greece
- - Ms. Masako Satou Japan
- - Dr. Wah Wah Maung Myanmar
- - Dr. Son Yeon Woo Republic of Korea
- - Mr. Nguyen Trung Khanh Vietnam
9 2023 Ms. Farzana Mahmood Bangladesh
- - Ms. Brigitte Chataignier France
- - Dr. Muhanad Hatim Hashim Alrakabi Iraq
- - Mr. Krzysztof Jakub Iwanek Poland
- - Dr. Piyanat Soikham Thailand

d) International Award for Promotion of Buddhism

Award for Promotion of Buddhist Studies instituted by ICCR in 2021 to recognize the contribution of foreign scholars/individuals/organizations to Indian cause for the promotion of Buddhism/Buddhist studies globally, has been renamed as “International Award for Promotion of Buddhism”

Ever since the inception of the award in 2021, the following have been selected for the award:-

Sr. No. Year Name of Awardee Country
1 2021 Otani University Japan
- - Dr. Duong Thi Thanh Huong Vietnam
2 2022 Mr. Choijamts Demberel Mongolia
3 2023 Dr. Ashin Nyanissara Myanmar

e) Annapurna Certificate

The “Annapurna Certificate” is an Award initiated by the Indian Council Cultural Relations (ICCR) to recognize and honour restaurants operating abroad that have made outstanding contributions to the promotion of authentic Indian cuisine and culinary traditions in foreign countries. This award serves as a symbol of appreciation for the significant role these restaurants play in introducing Indian gastronomy to local communities abroad and enhancing cultural exchange.


Annapurna Certificate 2023 award function was held at Kamal Mahal, ITC Maurya, New Delhi on 12th December 2023 in which the Annapurna Certificates have been presented by Chief Guest, Smt. Meenakashi Lekhi, Hon’ble Minister of State of External Affairs and Culture and Guest of Honour, Smt. Hema Malini, Member of Parliament, Lokshbha.


The following restaurants have been awarded for Annapurna Certificate for the year 2023:-



1. Amber India Restaurant from USA: Amber India has been balancing traditional Indian cuisine with a contemporary atmosphere for the past 25 years. A curated collection of contemporary Indian art sets the stage for an experience rooted in tradition and delivered with a fresh approach.



2. Balaji Dosai from Sri Lanka: Balaji Dosai is a unique concept restaurant in the heart of Kandy. An Indian restaurant has been in operation for 10 years, serving both South and North Indian cuisine to locals and tourists. They ensure that each guest receives prompt, professional, friendly, and courteous service.



3. Indian Street Food & Co. from Sweden: Indian Street Food & Co creates a modern Indian cuisine inspired by food vendors in the streets of India. By blending tradition with modern tastes and sustainable ideals, their mission is to elevate the Indian dining experience wherever they go.



4. Mumtaz Mahal Restaurant from Oman: Mumtaz Mahal is one of the oldest fine-dining restaurants in Muscat, serving the best North Indian food since 1984. From the delicious cuisine to the regal ambience, everything within this palatial restaurant reflects a sense of royalty and grandeur.



5. Namaste, Indian Restaurant from Mongolia: This restaurant serves the best North Indian, Mughlai, and Punjabi food. Its chefs hail from various regions of India, each bringing with them the rich and authentic flavors of their hometowns. With their expertise and passion for Indian cuisine, they create a culinary experience that is truly unparalleled.



6. Naans and Curries, An Ethnic Indian Restaurant from Costa Rica: Naans & Curries encompasses dining experiences that simulate and interact with five senses, serving the Indian foods. The elaborate offering has multi-layers of flavours. High-quality ethnic ingredients, skillful preparation by highly skilled chefs from India, and the process of serving from the foundation.