British Indian academic and manufacturing expert Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya, who founded the Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) died after a brief illness on Friday. He was 78.
Bangalore-born Mr Bhattacharyya, an alumnus of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur, was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 2002 for his services to science and technology and made a life peer in the UK’s House of Lords in 2004.
The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), which worked closely with him over the years, described Bhattacharyya as a “visionary academic and tall leader of manufacturing excellence” in its tribute to the engineer and government adviser.
“Professor Lord Bhattacharyya played a significant role in India-UK economic relations and helped found the Indo-British Partnership Initiative (IBPI), where CII was the Indian partner, launched by both governments in 1991 and was successful in taking bilateral trade and investment relations to new heights,” the CII statement said.
Mr Bhattacharyya has been credited with facilitating talks that led to the Tata Group acquiring Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) in 2008.
His contributions were recognised when the National Automotive Innovation Centre, a 150-million pound facility dubbed as the largest single automotive facility in Europe and a joint initiative between the WMG and Tata Motors” JLR at the University of Warwick, was renamed the Lord Bhattacharyya Building last year.
“Professor Lord Bhattacharyya served for four decades at Warwick, founding and leading WMG. However, his service goes far beyond this university,” said Professor Stuart Croft, Warwick University Vice-Chancellor.
“He has helped preserve and create jobs and transform companies, economies, and individual lives, above all in our region. We mourn the passing of a unique man but we also celebrate all that he has achieved and are thankful that those achievements will have a massive impact for years to come,” he said.