Center for American Progress

Center for American Progress U.S.-India Task Force

Center for American Progress U.S.-India Task Force

The Center for American Progress is convening a task force on U.S.-India relations, bringing together a dynamic set of experts from both nations to chart a shared bilateral agenda and to press that agenda in both Washington and New Delhi.

In this article
U.S. and Indian flags flutter near the presidential palace in New Delhi, India, ahead of U.S. President George W. Bush's visit to the country, February 2006. (AP/Gurinder Osan)

The relationship between the United States and India is at a critical inflection point. Fifteen years of deepening ties have put the relationship on its best-ever footing. But the future is not clear. The next few years will test whether this partnership can develop into one of the most important bilateral relationships of the 21st century.

The Center for American Progress is addressing this challenge by convening a task force on U.S.-India relations, bringing together a dynamic set of experts from both nations to chart a shared bilateral agenda and to press that agenda in both Washington and New Delhi.

The task force will focus on where U.S. and Indian interests converge and where collaboration, innovation, technology, and the modernization of institutions in both democracies can drive progress. The task force aims to craft ideas to overcome obstacles in the relationship, forge solutions for shared challenges, and explore what this bilateral relationship can achieve if these nations work as partners toward common goals.

Co-chaired by former Indian Ambassador to the United States Nirupama Rao and former U.S. Ambassador to India Richard Verma, the task force is made up of both Indian and American experts: scholars in their fields that are key voices in policy areas including inclusive economic growth, technology, climate and environment issues, and security. The participants will jointly investigate the major challenges and opportunities for both nations and develop actionable bilateral roadmaps for policymakers and leaders of business and civil society.

  • United States
  • Richard Verma (co-chair)
  • Richard Rossow
  • Alyssa Ayres
  • Tom West
  • Sadanand Dhume
  • Seema Hingorani
  • Lisa Gilbert
  • Sarah Ladislaw
  • Vikram J. Singh
  • Michael H. Fuchs
  • India
  • Nirupama Rao (co-chair)
  • Nur Laiq
  • Arunabha Ghosh
  • Varad Pande
  • Yamini Aiyar
  • Dhruva Jaishankar
  • Anant Goenka
  • Roopa Purushothaman
  • Manjeet Kripalani
  • Shaurya Doval


Richard R. Verma, former U.S. ambassador to India

Richard Verma served as the 25th U.S. ambassador to India. He was nominated by President Barack Obama in September 2014 and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in December 2014. Verma oversaw one of the largest U.S. missions in the world, including four consulates across India and nearly every agency of the U.S. government.

Verma was previously the assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs, where he led the State Department’s efforts on Capitol Hill. He worked in the Senate for many years, serving as senior national security adviser to the Senate majority leader, and he also worked in the House of Representatives. He is veteran of the U.S. Air Force, where he served on active duty as a judge advocate. His military decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal and Air Force Commendation Medal.

The ambassador also has a distinguished career in the private sector, serving as partner at the global law firm Steptoe & Johnson LLP and as senior counselor to the Albright Stonebridge Group. He served as a commissioner on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism Commission and is a co-author of their landmark report, “World at Risk.” He was also a national security fellow at the Center for American Progress.

Verma is the recipient of the State Department’s Distinguished Service Award and the Council on Foreign Relations’ International Affairs Fellowship, and he was ranked by India Abroad as one of the 50 most influential Indian Americans. Verma holds a master of laws degree from the Georgetown University Law Center, a juris doctor degree from American University’s Washington College of Law, and a bachelor of science from Lehigh University.

Nirupama Rao, former ambassador of India to the United States

Retired Ambassador Nirupama Rao served as foreign secretary of India from 2009 to 2011. Her professional life from 1973 to 2013 was spent in the practice of diplomacy in the service of the government of India as a member of the prestigious Indian Foreign Service.

Rao was born in Kerala in southern India. Her father was an officer in the Indian Army, her mother a homemaker. Rao was educated in schools in various parts of India and completed her university education in Bangalore and Aurangabad. When she was 21 years old, she sat for the very competitive Civil Services Examination and was adjudged the most meritorious, topping the all-India list of successful candidates. It was thus that she joined the Foreign Service, fulfilling a dream she held since she was 12 years old.

During her career, Rao served both in the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi and in Indian embassies in various world capitals. She became a specialist in India-China relations as a result of a long period of service in the East Asia Division of the Ministry of External Affairs between 1984 and 1992. She was a member of the delegation that accompanied the then-prime minister of India, Rajiv Gandhi, on his historic visit to China in December 1988. She served as India’s first woman ambassador to China from 2006 to 2009.

Rao was the first woman spokesperson of the Indian foreign office and also the first Indian woman to be high commissioner to Sri Lanka. She is also the longest-serving Indian woman foreign secretary completing a full tenure of two years from 2009 to 2011. She was India’s ambassador to the United States from 2011 to 2013.

In her retirement, Rao has been working on a book on India-China relations. She has been a visiting fellow at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University in the United States in 2014, 2015, and 2016. At Brown, she has taught an international relations course for undergraduate seniors called “India in the World.” She has also been a recipient of the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru Fellowship at the Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund, New Delhi. She is a frequent op-ed contributor to leading Indian newspapers such as The Hindu and The Indian Express and the online publication The Wire.

Rao has a widely recognized public profile in India stemming from her years as spokesperson and as foreign secretary. She is the recipient of a Doctor of Letters (honoris causa) degree conferred on her by Pondicherry University in India in 2012. She is also a published author of a book of poems, Rain Rising. A Malayalam translation of this book was published in 2013, and a few of her poems have been translated into Chinese. She is married to Sudhakar Rao and has two sons.

Task force members

Richard Rossow, senior adviser and Wadhwani chair in U.S.-India Policy Studies, CSIS

Richard Rossow is a senior adviser and holds the Wadhwani Chair in U.S.-India Policy studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). In this role, he helps frame and shape policies to promote greater business and economic engagement between the two countries. He joined CSIS in 2014, having spent the past 16 years working in a variety of capacities to strengthen the partnership between the United States and India. Prior to CSIS, he served as director for South Asia at McLarty Associates, leading the firm’s work for clients in India and the neighboring region. From 2008 to 2012, Rossow was with New York Life Insurance Company, most recently as head of international governmental affairs, where he developed strategic plans for the company’s public policy and global mergers and acquisitions work. From 1998 to 2008, Rossow served as deputy director of the U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC), the world’s leading advocacy group on behalf of strengthening economic ties between the United States and India. While at USIBC, he managed the Council’s policy groups in the energy, information technology, insurance, media and entertainment, and telecommunications sectors. Mr. Rossow received his bachelor of arts from Grand Valley State University in Michigan.

Alyssa Ayres, senior fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia, Council on Foreign Relations

Alyssa Ayres is senior fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). At CFR, her work focuses on India’s role in the world and on U.S. relations with South Asia. In 2015, she served as the project director for the CFR-sponsored Independent Task Force on U.S.-India Relations and from 2014 to 2016 as the project director for an initiative on the new geopolitics of China, India, and Pakistan. She directs the U.S. Relations with South Asia Roundtable series, blogs regularly for Asia Unbound, and is a contributor to Her book about India’s rise on the world stage, Our Time Has Come: How India is Making Its Place in the World, is forthcoming from Oxford University Press.

Ayres served previously as deputy assistant secretary of state for South Asia from 2010 to 2013, covering all issues across a dynamic region of 1.3 billion people—Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka—and providing policy direction for four U.S. embassies and four consulates. Originally trained as a cultural historian, Ayres has experience in the nonprofit, government, and private sectors, and she has carried out research on both India and Pakistan.

Prior to serving in the Obama administration, Ayres was founding director of the India and South Asia practice at McLarty Associates, the Washington-based international strategic advisory firm, from 2008 to 2010. Immediately prior, she served in the U.S. Department of State as special assistant to the undersecretary for political affairs as a CFR international affairs fellow. Prior to that, she worked in the nonprofit sector at the Center for the Advanced Study of India at the University of Pennsylvania and at the Asia Society in New York.

Her book on nationalism, culture, and politics in Pakistan, Speaking Like a State, was published worldwide by Cambridge University Press in 2009 and received the American Institute of Pakistan Studies book prize for 2011-2012. She has co-edited three books on India and Indian foreign policy: Power Realignments in AsiaIndia Briefing: Takeoff at Last?; and India Briefing: Quickening the Pace of Change. Ayres has been awarded numerous fellowships and has received four group or individual Superior Honor Awards for work at the State Department. She speaks fluent Hindi and Urdu, and in the mid-1990s she worked as an interpreter for the International Committee of the Red Cross. She received a bachelor of arts magna cum laude from Harvard College and a master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, where her dissertation was defended with distinction. She is a former term member of CFR and a life member since 2010.

Tom West, associate vice president, The Cohen Group

Tom West joined The Cohen Group following 10 years of service in the State Department and at the White House, working largely on South Asia and Middle East issues. He worked at the White House from 2012 to 2015, serving on the National Security Council (NSC) as director for Afghanistan and Pakistan, and more recently as special adviser to Vice President Joe Biden. At the NSC, West staffed President Barack Obama’s engagements with Afghan leaders, planned the January 2013 visit of then-President Hamid Karzai to Washington, and coordinated negotiations on the U.S.-Afghan Bilateral Security Agreement. He also helped frame the planning process and public roll-out for the post-2014 U.S. and NATO military presence in Afghanistan. West advised the vice president on the U.S. direction in Iraq and Syria, in India following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s election, and in Afghanistan against the backdrop of the international community’s withdrawal. Working with colleagues in New York, he helped organize the September 2014 Global Summit on Peacekeeping, which the vice president convened. West served a concurrent stint as the NSC’s director for Yemen, including during the evacuation of U.S. personnel from Sana’a.

From 2011 to 2012, West served as the State Department’s senior diplomat in Kunar Province, Afghanistan, where he managed the civilian staff of a U.S.-led Provincial Reconstruction Team and directed local oversight of development and reconstruction projects. From 2008 to 2010, he was special assistant for South and Central Asia affairs to the State Department’s undersecretary for political affairs. Working with the U.S. Congress, Nuclear Suppliers Group, and Indian counterparts in New Delhi, West and a team of State Department and White House officials completed the U.S.-India Civil Nuclear Cooperation Initiative. He also helped manage the U.S. response to the 2008 Mumbai attacks, and he planned and participated in the Obama administration’s first high-level visit to New Delhi in 2009. From 2005 to 2008, West served in a variety of Pakistan-focused positions at the State Department, including political officer in Islamabad and Karachi and Pakistan desk officer in Washington. Before joining the government as a presidential management fellow, he interned at The Brookings Institution and at The Center for the National Interest.

Mr. West received a bachelor of arts in international studies from Johns Hopkins University and a master’s degree in international relations from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He speaks French and Pashto.

Sadanand Dhume, resident fellow, American Enterprise Institute

Sadanand Dhume writes about South Asian political economy, foreign policy, business, and society, with a focus on India and Pakistan. He is also a South Asia columnist for The Wall Street Journal. He has worked as a foreign correspondent for the Far Eastern Economic Review in India and Indonesia and was a Bernard Schwartz fellow at the Asia Society in Washington. His political travelogue about the rise of radical Islam in Indonesia, My Friend the Fanatic: Travels with a Radical Islamist, has been published in four countries.

Seema Hingorani, founder and chief investment officer, SevenStep Capital LLC

Seema R. Hingorani is currently the founder and chief investment officer of SevenStep Capital, a opportunistic alternatives seeding platform that has a focus on investing in women and minority portfolio managers. Hingorani is also a senior adviser to Crestview Partners. She served until June 2014 as chief investment officer for the New York City Retirement Systems, which had assets of $160 billion. Prior to this appointment, Hingorani was interim chief investment officer and, before that, head of public equities and hedge funds for the pension funds. Under Hingorani’s leadership, the pension fund was named Hedge Fund Manager of the Year: Large Public Pension Plans by Institutional Investor. Prior to Hingorani’s four years of public sector experience, she served as global director of fundamental research at Pyramis Global Advisors; a general partner, portfolio manager, and senior equity analyst with Andor Capital Management; a general partner and senior equity analyst at Pequot Capital Management; co-founder of Mirador Capital Management; and an equity analyst with T. Rowe Price.

Hingorani is the founder and chair of Girls Who Invest, a nonprofit organization dedicated to transforming the asset management industry by bringing more women into portfolio management and leadership. She was honored as the 2016 Woman with Impact by the Connecticut Women’s Business Development Council and Wall Street Women Entrepreneur of the Year in 2015 by Traders Magazine, and she received the 2015 Women in Finance Achievement award from Markets Media for her work with Girls Who Invest. Hingorani served as a member of the National Finance Committee of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. Hingorani is an active member of The Economic Club of New York and 100 Women in Finance and also served for eight years as a member of the Board of Directors of Project Enterprise, a nonprofit microfinance organization dedicated to supporting and developing entrepreneurs and small businesses, most of which were women-owned, in underresourced communities in New York.

Ms. Hingorani earned her bachelor of arts in psychology/philosophy from Yale College and her MBA in finance from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Lisa Gilbert, vice president of legislative affairs, Public Citizen

Lisa Gilbert is Public Citizen’s vice president of legislative affairs. Previously, Gilbert served as the deputy director and then director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division. She advocates for government transparency and integrity, financial reform, civil justice, and consumer protection.

Before coming to Public Citizen, Gilbert was the democracy advocate for the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, where she focused on good government, ethics, and campaign finance reform. Prior to that, Gilbert was a campaign director who organized outreach campaigns to pass legislation on social justice and environmental issues for organizations such as the Human Rights Campaign, Sierra Club, and Environment Washington.

Gilbert has testified before Congress and has been quoted in publications such as The New York Times, The Associated Press, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Fox News, and NPR. She was also a featured contributor to the National Journal’s Expert Blog on lobbying and ethics, is a contributor to The Hill, and writes frequently for The Huffington Post and Yahoo Finance, among other publications.

Sarah Ladislaw, director and senior fellow, Energy and National Security Program, CSIS

As director of the Energy and National Security Program, Sarah Ladislaw leads the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ (CSIS) work in energy policy, market, and technology analysis. Ladislaw is an expert in U.S. energy policy; global oil and natural gas markets; and climate change. She has authored numerous publications on the geopolitics of energy, energy security and climate change, low-carbon pathways, and a wide variety of issues on U.S. energy policy, regulation, and market dynamics. Her regional energy work includes publications on Chinese, European, African, and Western Hemisphere energy issues. She has spearheaded new work at CSIS on climate change, the electricity sector, and energy technology development.

Ladislaw formerly worked at the Office of the Americas in the Department of Energy’s Office of Policy and International Affairs, where she covered a range of economic, political, and energy issues in North America, the Andean region, and Brazil. While at the Energy Department, she also worked on comparative investment frameworks and trade issues, as well as on biofuels development and use both in the Western Hemisphere and around the world. She also spent a short period of time working at Statoil as its senior director for international affairs in its Washington office. Ladislaw is frequently invited to speak at public conferences, advise companies and policymakers, and testify before Congress. She is a member of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s Strategic Analysis Technical Review Panel, the Strategic Advisory Council for Georgia Tech’s Strategic Energy Initiative, and a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She has taught graduate courses on energy security as an adjunct professor at George Washington University and is a frequent guest lecturer at other universities. She also comments frequently in print and on radio and television media outlets. Ladislaw received her bachelor’s degree in international affairs, East Asian studies, and Japanese from George Washington University and her master’s degree in international affairs and security from George Washington University as part of the Presidential Administrative Fellowship.

Vikram Singh, senior adviser for National Security and International Policy, Center for American Progress

Vikram J. Singh is a senior adviser for National Security and International Policy at the Center for American Progress. Previously, he served as the deputy assistant secretary of defense for South and Southeast Asia at the Pentagon, where he advised senior leadership on all policy matters pertaining to development and implementation of defense strategies and plans for the region.

Until November 2011, Singh was the deputy special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan at the U.S. Department of State. He has also served in the U.S. Department of Defense as a senior adviser on Afghanistan and Pakistan, representing the department in National Security Council policy reviews of the region and the war in Afghanistan, and as a senior adviser responsible for the department’s post-2014 strategic approach to South and Central Asia.

From 2003 to 2007 Singh served in the Department of Defense on a broad range of issues, including programs to train and equip foreign military forces, American counterinsurgency and irregular warfare capabilities, stability operations, disaster response and humanitarian assistance, acquisitions resource analysis, and the 2005 Quadrennial Defense Review.

Singh was a fellow at the Center for a New American Security, or CNAS, from 2007 to 2009. He is the author or co-author of numerous CNAS reports and articles published in a range of professional journals and national newspapers and has been a regular commentator on radio and television.

Singh has lived and worked in Sri Lanka, where he ran a Ford Foundation program on minority rights and conflict in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka and reported on the Sri Lankan civil war for the Voice of America.

Singh is a recipient of public service awards, including the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Civilian Service and the Department of State’s Superior Honor Award. He holds degrees from the University of California, Berkeley and Columbia University.

Michael H. Fuchs, senior fellow, Center for American Progress

Michael H. Fuchs is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, where his work focuses on U.S. foreign policy priorities and U.S. policy toward the Asia-Pacific region.

From 2013 to 2016, Fuchs served as deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, directing U.S. policy on the South China Sea, regional security issues, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and managing the bureau’s foreign assistance budget of almost $800 million.

Fuchs was special adviser to the secretary of state for strategic dialogues from 2011 to 2013, leading planning and preparation for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s strategic dialogues with China, India, South Africa, and others. During this time, Fuchs also served as a member of the secretary’s policy planning staff, where he worked on a diverse set of issues and initiatives including the department’s response to the Arab Spring, cybersecurity, and the development of a U.S. government strategy to prevent and respond to mass atrocities. From 2009 to 2011, Fuchs was special assistant to Secretary Clinton, providing day-to-day and long-term policy advice on the full range of U.S. foreign policy issues.

Before joining the U.S. State Department, Fuchs served as deputy national security director for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, where he helped run policy, outreach, and communications on all foreign policy and defense issues for the campaign.

Previously, Fuchs worked on foreign policy and energy and environment issues for the Center for American Progress, co-directed a project on democracy and U.S. foreign policy for The Century Foundation, and ran a human rights project in Afghanistan. He has also been a lecturer at George Washington University, where he taught courses on politics and policymaking.

Fuchs co-authored The Survival and the Success of Liberty: A Democracy Agenda for U.S. Foreign Policy with Morton H. Halperin. He is a graduate of Columbia University and a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Nur Laiq, visiting fellow, Center for Policy Research, New Delhi

Laiq is a consultant with the United Nations, where she also serves as a member of the UN Secretary-General’s Advisory Group for Progress Study on Youth, Peace and Security. Laiq holds visiting fellowships at the Center for Policy Research in New Delhi and Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in Washington, D.C.

She previously worked as a political affairs officer in the Policy Planning Unit of the Department of Political Affairs at the United Nations in New York. She has worked on a general election campaign in New Delhi and as a research assistant in the U.K. Parliament in dLondon. Laiq has also been a senior policy analyst at the International Peace Institute in New York and worked at the European Commission’s External Action Service in Brussels.

Laiq is the author of Talking to Arab Youth: Revolution and Counter-revolution in Egypt and Tunisia and co-editor of The Search for Peace in the Arab-Israeli Conflict. She has written op-eds and articles for publications in the United States, India, and the United Kingdom. She has given invited talks on her work at the United Nations, the World Bank, Yale University, and Oxford University, among other places. She received her master of philosophy in modern Middle Eastern studies from Oxford University in 2005.

Arunabha Ghosh, CEO, Council on Energy, Environment and Water

Arunabha Ghosh is a public policy professional, adviser, author, columnist, and institution builder. As the founder and CEO of the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), since 2010, he has led CEEW to the top ranks as one of South Asia’s leading policy research institutions and among the world’s 20 best climate think tanks in 2016. He has been actively involved in the design of the International Solar Alliance since inception. He conceptualised and is a founding board member of the Clean Energy Access Network. With experience in 42 countries, he previously worked at Princeton University, Oxford University, the United Nations Development Programme, and the World Trade Organization.

He is the co-author/editor of four books: The Palgrave Handbook of the International Political Economy of Energy; Energising India: Towards a Resilient and Equitable Energy System; Human Development and Global Institutions; and Climate Change: A Risk Assessment. Arunabha’s essay “Rethink India’s energy strategy” in Nature was selected as one of 2015’s 10 most influential essays.

Ghosh advises governments, industry, civil society, and international organisations around the world. This has included India’s Prime Minister’s Office, several ministries, and state governments. He was invited by France to advise on the COP 21 climate negotiations and also advised extensively on HFC negotiations. He serves on the Executive Committee of the India-U.S. PACEsetter Fund. He is a member of Track II dialogues with seven countries. He writes a monthly column in the Business Standard, hosted a documentary on water in Africa, and was featured in a National Geographic documentary on energy. He is a World Economic Forum (WEF) Young Global Leader, was appointed to WEF’s Global Future Council on Energy, and an Asia Society Asia 21 Young Leader. He holds a doctor of philosophy from Oxford University.

Varad Pande, partner, Dalberg Global Development Advisors

Pande is a partner in Dalberg’s Mumbai office and co-leads Dalberg’s Financial Inclusion Practice Area. His recent work at Dalberg has included putting together a public-private partnership to drive financial inclusion and digital payments in India, based on a U.S.-India bilateral partnership anchored by USAID and India’s Ministry of Finance. He has also led strategic engagements to recommend new investments in education, urban environmental management, water, and the use of information and communications technology for development.

Pande has held diverse roles across government, strategy consulting, and multilateral institutions. Before coming to Dalberg, he was special adviser to India’s Ministries for Rural Development and Environment and Forests, where he drove the agenda on sustainable livelihoods, water and sanitation, financial inclusion, environment, and climate change.

Pande has been involved in several UN processes over the past few years. Specifically, he was principal adviser to Abhijit Banerjee on the United Nation’s high-level panel on post-2015 agenda and sherpa on the UN Secretary-General’s Global Sustainability Panel. Varad was also a member of India’s Low Carbon Expert Group and on the launch team of India’s unique ID program, Aadhaar, which aims to transform service delivery.

Previously, Pande was a team leader at the Monitor Group, where, among other things, he helped set up a national economic development agency and led a large multi-stakeholder project to scale up inclusive business models that create social impact. He has also worked at the World Bank on governance decentralization, primary education, and water and sanitation.

Varad has a master of public administration in international development from the Harvard Kennedy School, a master’s degree in economics from the University of Cambridge, and a bachelor of arts honors in economics from St. Stephens College, Delhi. He sits on the board of Lok Capital, a large impact investing firm; is a fellow of the Sustainability Science Program at Harvard University; and sits on the Policy Advisory Group of the Global Financial Inclusion Initiative at Innovations for Poverty Action at Yale University.

Yamini Aiyar, president, Centre for Policy Research

Yamini Aiyar is a senior fellow at the Centre for Policy Research and director of the Accountability Initiative, a research group that focuses on tracking government planning, budgeting, and decision-making systems in key social sector programs. She has worked with the World Bank’s Water and Sanitation Program and Agriculture and Rural Development unit in Delhi, where she focused on action research aimed at strengthening mechanisms for citizen engagement in local government. She was also a member of the decentralization team at the World Bank that provided policy support to strengthen Panchayati raj, or local governance, in India.

Aiyar’s current research focus is on understanding conditions under which social policy reform can be embedded and sustained. She is a TED fellow and a member of the Open Society Foundation’s fiscal governance program advisory board. She was also a founding member of the International Experts Panel of the Open Government Partnership and a member of the World Economic Forum’s global council on good governance. Aiyar is a regular participant in public debate on social policy in India. She writes regularly in national newspapers and has participated in several government committees and policy dialogues. She has a master’s degree in development studies from the London School of Economics; a master’s degree in social and political sciences from the University of Cambridge; and a bachelor of arts in philosophy from Delhi University.

Dhruva Jaishankar, fellow, foreign policy studies, Brookings India and the Brookings Institution

Dhruva Jaishankar leads Brookings India’s work on foreign policy, international affairs, and security. He is also a frequent contributor to the media in India and abroad, having published articles in print for The Times of India, Indian Express, Economic Times, Business Standard, India Today, Mint, and Dainik Bhaskar, and online for Foreign PolicyThe Washington Post, The Atlantic, The New York Times, and U.S. News and World Report.

Jaishankar was a transatlantic fellow with the German Marshall Fund in Washington from 2012 to 2016. In that capacity, he managed the India Trilateral Forum, a regular policy dialogue involving participants from India, Europe, and the United States. Prior to that, he was program officer for Asia with GMF from 2009 to 2012. He previously worked as a research assistant at the Brookings Institution in Washington and as a news writer and reporter for CNN-IBN television in New Delhi. He has also been a Brent Scowcroft Award fellow with the Aspen Strategy Group and a visiting fellow with the South Asia Programme of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

Jaishankar is a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, and in 2013 he was selected as an IISS-SAIS Merrill Center Young Strategist. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history and classics from Macalester College and a master’s degree in security studies from Georgetown University.

Anant Goenka, executive director, The Indian Express Group

Anant Goenka is the executive director of The Indian Express Group. He graduated in brand management from the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California and was awarded a dean’s scholarship for his master’s degree in print journalism from the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

Anant’s first responsibility when he joined the group was its fledgling digital business. He is recognised for converting the editorial and business mindset of a conventional newspaper bred on the values of its founder—freedom fighter Ramnath Goenka—to a modern, digitally adaptive one that continues to champion its 85-year history of free speech and courageous journalism.

Over the past 5 years, the group’s reach has grown from 4 million unique visitors to 70 million unique visitors a month from around the world, becoming India’s second largest digital news group. Its flagship site,, is ranked by NewsWhip as one of the world’s 25 most engaged websites on Facebook. The group’s is India’s largest Marathi website and The Indian Express mobile app was awarded best news app in Asia by the World Association of Newspapers.

The expanding print and digital reach of The Indian Express Group is due to agenda-setting news breaks such as the Panama Papers, Ishrat Jahan witness tutoring tapes, and the Indo-Pakistan surgical strike verification, and also due to its self-sustaining, journalism-first business model—a rarity in the Indian digital media landscape.

Anant frequently writes in The Indian Express and often hosts the popular Express Adda. His pieces on Punjab drugs, The Indo-Pakistan border parade, and most recently, his piece on the future of media, were widely shared. His 2015 interview with Aamir Khan was one of the most watched interviews of the year.

Forbes magazine says Anant exudes the energy that he promises to infuse into the venerable Express brand, and GQ magazine rates him as one of India’s 50 most influential young Indians of 2016. Before The Indian Express, he has worked at Spenta Multimedia in Mumbai and at Bloomberg in the United Kingdom. He is an aviation geek, enjoys motorsport and jazz music, and by his own admission, is a persistently terrible drummer.

Roopa Purushothaman, chief economist and head of policy advocacy, Tata Sons

Roopa Purushothaman is an economist and the head of research at Everstone Capital. In her role, she covers macro and thematic issues on demographics, income, and consumption patterns. Previously, Purushothaman was a vice president and global economist at Goldman Sachs. While at Goldman Sachs, Roopa co-authored the report “Dreaming with BRICs: The Path to 2050,” along with other published papers on demographics and long-term structural growth. She was a member of the prime minister’s advisory committee for Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission and a member of the Aspen Institute’s India Leadership Initiative. She is also the founder of Avasara Leadership Institute, an educational institution focused on accelerating academic and leadership outcomes for India’s brightest girls. Avasara has worked with more than 2,000 adolescent girls to date and started its residential academy in 2015 outside of Pune, India.

Manjeet Kripalani, executive director, Gateway House

Manjeet Kripalani is the co-founder of Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations and acts as the executive director of the institution. Prior to the founding of Gateway House, Kripalani was India bureau chief of Businessweek magazine from 1996 to 2009. During her extensive career in journalism—including BusinessweekWorth, and Forbes magazines in New York—she has won several awards, including the Gerald Loeb Award, the George Polk Award, and Overseas Press Club and Daniel Pearl awards.

Kripalani was the 2006-2007 Edward R. Murrow press fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, New York, which inspired her to found Gateway House. Her political career spans being the deputy press secretary to Steve Forbes during his first run in 1995-1996 as Republican candidate for U.S. president in New Jersey to being press secretary for the Lok Sabha campaign for independent candidate Meera Sanyal in 2008 and 2014 in Mumbai. Kripalani holds two bachelor’s degrees from Bombay University—bachelor of law and bachelor of arts in English and history—and a master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia University in New York. She is a member of the Asian advisory board of the International Center for Journalists and the Overseas Press Club, and she sits on the executive board of Gateway House, the Indian Liberal Group, and Emancipaction, all of which are nonprofit organizations.

Shaurya Doval, managing director, Zeus Capital; director, India Foundation

Shaurya Doval is a managing director at Zeus Capital, where he leads the investment business in India. He has over 20 years of international investment banking experience, during which time he worked for over a decade in London with the leveraged finance business of GE Capital and the investment banking division of Morgan Stanley. He has also worked with corporate finance advisory at Arthur Andersen in India. Doval is a qualified chartered accountant and holds a Master of Business Administration from London Business School. He was a recipient of the Udyog Ratna Award in 2012 for his contribution to the growth of the Indian power sector. Doval is also a director of the India Foundation, a think tank based in New Delhi, with strong nationalistic credentials. Doval was the Eisenhower fellow from India for 2015.

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