: International News
Indo-Canadian honcho dons army fatigues
Toronto, May 24, 2011
In a first for the million-strong
community, a top Indo-Canadian honcho has donned military
fatigues by joining the Canadian armed forces as an honorary
lieutenant colonel.Hari Panday, who launched ICICI Bank in
Canada eight years ago and currently heads PanVest Capital
Corporation, has already undergone tough training with
Canadian armed forces as part of his new role.
A known Indo-Canadian face in corporate Canada, Kanpur-born
Panday landed in Canada in 1975 with just $5 in his pocket.
"It is a unique honour from Canadian armed forces for me as a
visible minority and for the Indo-Canadian community that I am
the first person to be given the title of honorary lieutenant
colonel. I have already undergone training with 25 Service
Battalion which is a reserve force based in Toronto," Panday
Asked what prompted a top corporate honcho to don the army
uniform, he said: "When I saw Canadian soldiers deployed in
Afghanistan coming back home in body bags, I felt the pain of
Canadians lining up to welcome their heroes. I felt we visible
minorities should stand shoulder to shoulder with our Canadian
brothers and sisters to honour these brave men and women. I
just wanted to do something for our military men and women."
Panday said he got in touch with armed forces chief General
Rick Hillier (now retired) who then decided what civilians
like him could do for the country's armed forces.
"First, I got involved in regimental support group and got to
know the army's work...that's how my involvement with the
military began. Basically, I wanted to be seen with these
brave people and know their sacrifices."
In this role, the corporate executive said he is undertaking
many initiatives for rehabilitating retired and disabled
"We are mounting an Indo-Canadian initiative to establish
scholarships to help children of soldiers who died serving
Canada. We are also creating a venture capital fund for
returning and retired soldiers to help restart their life," he
"Right now, I am helping three former soldiers find
employment. Since we Indo-Canadians have not yet acted as sons
and daughters of soil, I am undertaking these things for our
soldiers," said Panday.
He said he is headed next to harsh military exercises in
freezing North Arctic regions of Canada.