Veteran Indian diplomat Jaishankar joins U.S. India Strategic Partnership Forum

Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with Indian Ambassador to the U.S. S. Jaishankar after addressing guests at the Department of State's Diwali Celebration in Washington, D.C., Oct. 23, 2014. 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Former foreign secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, who according to sources, still has the ear of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has joined the board of the U.S.India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF).

Jaishankar, president of Global Corporate Affairs for the Tata Group, was India’s Ambassador to the U.S. when Modi visited the U.S. in 2014 and made his historic address to more than 10,000 people at Madison Square Garden. in New York.

During that visit, Modi had been so impressed by Jaishankar, that he appointed him foreign secretary, even though the latter was hardly a year into his assignment in Washington, D.C.

From then on, he remained a close confidante of the prime minister with regard to foreign affairs and always accompanied Modi on his overseas travel. He was always by Modi’s side until his retirement in January this year and almost immediately was invited by Tata to helm its new office of Global Corporate Affairs.

USISPF is pleased to have Jaishankar on board, believing he will give the organization enhanced gravitas following its split from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which had held sway over the U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC). Many of the key members, who now constitute the hierarchy of USISPF said, Jaishankar “brings a wealth of experience to his position” as a member of its board.

Jaishankar said, "I'm looking forward to working with USISPF's board of directors to build upon the key relationship between India and the U.S. The Tata group has been at the forefront of U.S.-India business ties, and USISPF will be an important platform to further develop this relationship.”

Before his avatar as foreign secretary from January 2015 to January 2018, Jaishankar served in the Indian Foreign Service and in high profile positions as high commissioner to Singapore, ambassador to China and as envoy to the U.S. He was a key protagonist in the negotiations that led to the consummation of the U.S.-India civilian nuclear deal in 2008.

Mukesh Aghi, the president of USISPF said, “He [Jaishankar] is architect of U.S.-India relationship. For him to come on board sends a very strong message. A message that USISPF is important. But more important is that he wants to stay engaged in the U.S.-India relationship.

"With his experience as Indian Foreign Secretary and Former Indian Ambassador to the U.S., Dr. Jaishankar is one of the most profoundly influential individuals for U.S.-India relations, and we are honored to welcome him to the USISPF board, a powerful group that will undoubtedly make serious strides in partnership and trade growth between the United States and India," Aghi said in a statement.

His sentiments were shared by USISPF chairman John Chambers, the former CEO and chairman of Cisco, who said Jaishankar’s previous roles in the Indian Foreign Service and his present role with Tata Group “make him an invaluable addition to the forum's already powerful board.”

USISPF board member William Cohen, former U.S. defense secretary, said that Jaishankar epitomizes the mission behind USISPF’s founding last year: to promote a strategic relationship between the U.S. and India, and finding common ground on important issues facing businesses in both countries.

The USISPF is headquartered in Washington, D.C., and also has offices in New York, Silicon Valley, Mumbai and New Delhi.

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