Cardiff businessman becomes first Indian in UK to become honorary Royal Navy officer

Prominent Cardiff businessman Raj Aggarwal has become the first Indian-born honorary officer in the Royal Navy.

Raj, a pharmacist and public health expert who also serves as India’s Honorary Consul in Wales, has been appointed the rank of honorary Lieutenant Commander.

Honorary officers in the Royal Navy bring a breadth of experience and contribute in their own distinct way to strengthen the Naval Service’s ties with the communities it serves.

Raj said: “It is my great honour to accept this position in the Royal Navy as one of the honorary officers.

"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.”

 

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.

Brigadier Graeme ‘Jock’ Fraser

Raj emigrated from Kenya to Wales in 1967 and studied Pharmacy at Cardiff University. He settled in Cardiff after a career as a senior executive with Boots. He is the chairman of RK Aggarwal Ltd and ran a successful chain of pharmacies across the capital.

Besides sitting on several influential boards, as chairman of Kidney Wales he was instrumental in changing the opt-out law for organ donations in Wales, which was introduced in December 2015 and has significantly improved organ donations in a move that will save many lives.

The Royal Navy’s  Regional Commander for Wales and Western England, Royal Marine Brigadier Graeme ‘Jock’ Fraser, said: “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.

“The armed forces are inclusive employers. We recognise the value of diversity and proudly serve all members of our communities at home and overseas.

“As the only honorary Royal Navy officer in Wales, it is fitting that we celebrate Raj’s appointment. He will wear his naval officer’s uniform with pride.”

Raj’s official inauguration ceremony took place at a mela – a Hindu term meaning festival – that took place on Sunday at HMS Cambria, the only Royal Navy base in Wales.

Raj was joined by friends and family from the local South Wales Asian community and were treated to Indian dancing, food and music, as well as displays from the local sea cadet units.