India has honoured former foreign secretary as well as Bangladesh high commissioner to India Syed Muazzem Ali with the Padma Bhushan for Public Affairs (posthumous) and professor Enamul Haque with the Padma Shri award for his outstanding contribution to archaeology.

Muazzem Ali passed away on 30 December 2019 at the Combined Military Hospital (CMH) in Dhaka, having just completed a 5-year posting in New Delhi as Bangladesh high commissioner.

Born on 18 July 1944 in Sylhet, he joined the Pakistan Foreign Service in 1968, and retired in December 2001. While serving in the Pakistan Embassy in Washington DC in 1971, he declared his allegiance to the government of Bangladesh.

He was brought out of retirement to serve as Bangladesh High Commissioner in New Delhi from September 2014 to 2019.

India’s Padma Awards are conferred in three categories, namely, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri. The Awards are given in various disciplines/ fields of activities - art, social work, public affairs, science and engineering, trade and industry, medicine, literature and education, sports, civil service, etc.

‘Padma Vibhushan’ is awarded for exceptional and distinguished service; ‘Padma Bhushan’ for distinguished service of high order and ‘Padma Shri’ for distinguished service in any field. The awards are announced on the occasion of Republic Day every year.

These awards are conferred by the president of India at ceremonial functions which are held at Rashtrapati Bhawan usually around March or April every year. This year the president has approved conferment of 141 Padma Awards including 4 duos (when conferred on a duo, the Award is counted as one). The list comprises 7 Padma Vibhushan, 16 Padma Bhushan and 118 Padma Shri Awards.

Thirty-three of the awardees are women and the list also includes 18 persons from the category of Foreigners/NRI/PIO/OCI and 12 Posthumous awardees.