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SBI UK chief awarded 'Freedom of the City of London'

India's largest state-owned lender SBI's regional head in the UK has been honoured with the 'Freedom of the City of London' award in recognition of his contribution to promoting the bilateral relations.

Sanjiv Chadha, who oversaw State Bank of India (SBI) UK's transition into a subsidiary in April last year, was nominated for the honour by Lord Mayor of London Peter Estlin and Sheriff Vincent Keaveny.

The award, given by the City of London Corporation, dates back to the 13th century and has since developed into an honour bestowed upon individuals who make an impact in the financial hub of London, referred to as the City or the Square Mile.

"The State Bank of India is one of the oldest and most respected foreign banks in the Square Mile. Mr Chadha has been instrumental in expanding the bank's presence across the UK, and in boosting wider bilateral ties in financial services," said Lord Mayor Peter Estlin.

"He's been an excellent voice leading the Indian banking community and overseeing significant investment into the City," he said.

Chadha, who took up his position at the helm of the 98-year-old London office of the State Bank of India in 2014, received the award at a special Freedom ceremony at London's Guildhall on Monday. He will be succeeded by Sharad Chandak when his term completes this year.

The 'Freedom of the City of London' is believed to have begun in 1237 and enabled recipients to carry out their trade.

The previous Indian recipient of the honour is Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India. Other recipients include author J K Rowling and actor Dame Judi Dench.