Role of Diaspora: Advancing Indo-US economic ties

Role of Diaspora: Advancing Indo-US economic ties


Three million strong Indian American diaspora has been instrumental in deepening the social links between Indians and Americans, providing a critical bridging function connecting India and the US. The diaspora panel will explore the impact of these well-nurtured relationships and ways to leverage them to enhance trade and investments between the two countries. Different perspectives will be presented from strongly- connected diaspora, Indian industry leaders who invest in the US, and top diplomats who push for stronger Indo-US economic ties.

Panel Moderator:

Ranjana Khanna

Deputy Secretary General - FCICI-USA

With over three decades of a distinguished career with extensive experience in both Public and Private Sectors in India and internationally, Ms. Ranjana Khanna holds a Masters in Physics, and an MBA with specialization in Marketing and Finance. Before heading the FICCI office in the US , she was Senior Director handling Americas , Tourism, Civil Aviation, Corporate Communications and Special Projects at FICCI headquarters in New Delhi . Starting her career with the State Trading Corporation of India she holds direct hands on international marketing experience for a wide range of products and projects, both from India and heading their international office. She joined the India Tourism Development and as Vice President headed diverse top management functions such as Marketing, Task Force, Corporate Communications, HRD, Personnel and Industrial Relations.

While working with Indian Organizations and reputed International organizations in Senior Management positions, she had travelled extensively gaining extensive insights in dealing with different markets through their stages of economic development.



Victor Menezes

Senior Advisor with New Silk Route Partners & Former Senior Vice Chairman of Citigroup Inc.

Victor Menezes retired as Senior Vice Chairman of Citigroup Inc. after a 32-year global career with the company. He was head of Citi’s Emerging Markets business with responsibility for its corporate and consumer businesses.  He has headed Citi’s businesses and lived inIndia, Hong Kong, Europe and theU.S.  Currently, he is Chairman of the Advisory Board for CitiIndia.

Mr. Menezes is a Senior Advisor with New Silk Route Partners, Ltd., an international private equity firm.  Mr. Menezes is a board member of the MIT Corporation, Educational Testing Service, the American India Foundation, Catholic Charities and Eisenhower Fellowships.  He is on the advisory boards of the Indian Institute of TechnologyBombay, MIT Sloan and INSEAD.

Victor Menezes received his degree in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of TechnologyBombayin 1970 and a Master of Science degree in finance and economics from theSloanSchoolof the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1972.


Kapil Sharma

General Manager– North America Tata Sons

Kapil Sharma recently returned to the Tata Sons office from India, where he served as the general manager for Tata Services, a subsidiary of Tata Sons. Prior to joining Tata Sons, Sharma was the vice president for Madison Government Affairs, a boutique government relations firm. He has also served as senior counsel and legislative director to U.S. Senator Robert Torricelli (N.J.), as legislative consultant to the law firm of Verner Liipfert Bernhard McPherson and Hand, and as a legislative assistant to Congressman Frank Pallone (N.J.). Sharma received his J.D. from the Rutgers School of Law and his B.A. from Rutgers College, Rutgers University. He is a member of the Maryland Bar Association.

The Tata Group is the largest private corporate group in India in terms of market capitalization and revenues, with operations in more than 80 countries across six continents. Tata Sons Ltd., Washington, DC, assists Group companies with representation before federal, state and local governments; media relations; business development; corporate social responsibility activities; and brand development.


Ambassador Arun K. Singh

Deputy Chief Mission - Embassy of India, Washington D.C

Arun K. Singh joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1979, after completing his Masters Degree in Economics from Delhi University, and teaching at the University for two years. His first assignment abroad was at the Embassy of India, Moscow from 1981-1982, where he learnt Russian. Later, he served at the Indian Missions in Addis Ababa as Second Secretary from 1982-1985, and in Tokyo as First Secretary from 1985 – 1988. On returning to Delhi at the Headquarters of the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, he served as Deputy Secretary / Director dealing with East Asia and Pakistan Divisions from 1988-1991.  From 1991-1993, he headed the Offices of the Foreign Secretary and the External Affairs Minister of India.

Ambassador Singh served at the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations Office, New York from 1993-1997 as Counsellor and handled multilateral social and economic negotiations. He served in the Indian Mission at Moscow again as Counsellor / Minister from 1997-2000. During his assignment in Delhi from 2000-2005, he served in the capacity of Joint Secretary dealing first with the United Nations Policy, and then Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran Divisions at the Ministry of External Affairs. Ambassador Singh served as Ambassador of India to Israel from April 2005 to September, 2008. He assumed his new assignment as Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of India, Washington D.C on October 9, 2008.


Sonal Shah

Senior Advisor - Center for American Progress

Sonal Shah has spent her career as an entrepreneur and innovator in government, business and the non-profit sectors.  She serves as Senior Advisor at the Center for American Progress and a fellow at the Tides Foundation focused on social innovation and impact investing, working on developing capital markets structures for the social sector.  Starting the fall, she will be an Institute of Politics fellow at Harvard University.  She is the former Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of the first White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation focused on investing in and scaling innovative models in the social sector to solve some of the nation’s toughest challenges.  She also served on President Obama’s Transition Board overseeing the Technology, Innovation, Government Reform working group.  Before joining the White House, Shah led Google’s global development initiatives for its philanthropy,  Prior to Google, Shah was a Vice President at Goldman Sachs, Inc. where she developed and managed the firm’s environmental strategy.

Sonal also has significant non-profit experience.  She ­­­co-founded a non-profit, Indicorps, which offers fellowships for Indian-Americans to work on development projects in India.  She helped set up the Center for Global Development where she managed the daily operations and developed the policy and advocacy programs for the Center.  She also worked at the Center for American Progress focusing on trade, outsourcing and post conflict issues.  From 1995-2002, Shah was an economist at the Department of Treasury, where she directed the office for African Nations, worked on the Asian Financial Crisis and post conflict development in Bosnia and Kosovo.  Shah received her MA in Economics from Duke University and BA in Economics from the University of Chicago.  She is an Aspen Crown Fellow and a Next Generation Fellow.