Indian businessman and scientist granted Latvian citizenship

On Thursday, September 14, the Saeima granted Latvian citizenship to Indian businessman and scientist Kannan Vishwanatth.

Dr Kannan Vishwanatth is the Managing Director of Rupus Global Limited, a pharmaceutical company headquartered in Hong Kong and has been active in the pharmaceutical industry for a long time. He is an honorary patron of the Latvian Academy of Sciences (LZA).

According to the information presented to Saeima in the application to grant him Latvian citizenship Vishwanatth is involved in research projects with Latvian scientists, making a significant contribution to science and the national economy.

For Vishwanatth's contribution to the development and popularization of science and excellence, LZA awarded him an honorary doctorate of the Academy last year, as noted in the annotation of the bill. It should also be noted that Dr Nina Linde, Director of the Institute of Economics of the Latvian Academy of Sciences, is on the board of advisors of Rupus Global, according to its website.

He intellectually and financially supports social entrepreneurship, as well as invests in the development of health care centers for the elderly, according to the annotations of the bill on granting citizenship.


The chairman of the commission responsible for the relevant bill, Ingmārs Līdaka (United List), said: "Considering that Vishwanatth promotes Latvia's image in the world, has created and supports several innovative companies, contributes to Latvia's competitiveness in the fields of health care, pharmaceutical and scientific development... [the] commission invites the Saeima to admit Vishwanatth to Latvian citizenship." 

Saeima has the right to grant Latvia citizenship to those deemed to possess 'special merit'. However, it is not a route to citizenship that is open to most people, with the standard naturalization procedure involving tests of basic language proficiency, history and constitutional knowledge, and an ability to recite the national anthem.  

Naturalization also requires lengthy residency in Latvia before being eligible to apply, which Viswanatth does not have as he possesses only a short-term residence permit. He and his family have been living in Latvia since 2019, the application notes.

"K. Vishwanatth links his future and that of his family with Latvia, planning to be active in research and educational activities in Latvia, giving guest lectures, participating in conferences and forums organized in Latvia. He and his family are learning Latvian," said the application for citizenship. 

His non-Latvian name is rendered as 'Kannan Vishwanatth' in the documents submitted to Saeima rather than 'Kannan Vishwanath' as given on his personal website here. However, on the website of Rupus Global it is also rendered as 'Kannan Vishwanatth'.

Vishwanatth will keep his Indian citizenship alongside his new Latvian (and therefore European Union) citizenship.

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