Cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and eminent scientist C.N.R. Rao have been awarded the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said Saturday.
Tendulkar who bid farewell to international cricket Saturday, is the first sportsperson to receive the prestigious award.
The PMO described Tendulkar as a living legend who has inspired millions across the globe.
"During the last 24 years, since the young age of 16 years, Tendulkar has played cricket across the world and won laurels for our country," said a statement issued by the PMO.
"He has been a true ambassador of India in the world of sports. His achievements in cricket are unparalleled, the records set by him unmatched and the spirit of sportsmanship displayed by him exemplary," it said.
The PMO further said Tendulkar has been honoured with several awards, which is testimony to his extraordinary brilliance as a sportsman.
He played his last Test, his 200th, at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
C.N.R. Rao, is the head of the Scientific Advisory Council to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
"He is an eminent scientist and a well recognised international authority on solid state and materials chemistry. He has published over 1,400 research papers and 45 books," the PMO said.
Rao's contributions have been recognised by major scientific academies around the world through conferment of memberships and fellowships.
He has been honoured with several national and international awards.
Earlier this year, Rao received China's top science award for his contribution to boosting India-China scientific cooperation.