In August 2017, the U.S.-India Strategic Partnership Forum was launched with a focused commitment to creating the most powerful strategic partnership between the U.S. and India. Promoting bilateral trade has been an important part of our work, but our mission at the outset extended beyond trade. We believe that business and government need to come together in new ways to create meaningful opportunities that have the power to change the lives of citizens.
Led by our board, USISPF worked tirelessly to gain the credibility with both governments, member partners and stakeholders. The board collectively embraced the power of this partnership, making a lasting impact on the bilateral relationship, while assisting our 225 member companies as they seek to deepen the U.S.-India commercial partnership. Just recently, we saw the efforts of our board members receive enormous recognition, with the Government of India bestowing three esteemed Padma Awards to USISPF board members. The Padma awards are one of the highest civilian honors in India, awarded annually on the eve of India’s Republic Day.
Our chairman, John Chambers, was awarded the Padma Bhushan award. In addition, USISPF board members Shantanu Narayen, vice chairman of the USISPF Board of Directors, and Dr. S. Jaishankar, were awarded the Padma Shri award.
John Chambers, former executive chairman and CEO of Cisco and current CEO of JC2Ventures, has been a longtime supporter of India. Cisco bet big on India under his leadership two decades back. Chambers brought connectivity to many parts of India with Cisco’s arrival to the country in 1995. Now, the Cisco Global Development Center in Bangalore is the largest outside the United States. As CEO of JC2Ventures, Chambers is now investing in Indian startups and mentoring entrepreneurs from India.
Shantanu Narayan, Indian American CEO of Adobe, has helped transform his company. More than half of global patents for Adobe come from India, which is also home to the second largest office for the company. Narayan has helped activate digitization in the country and has contributed to India’s technological commitment programs such as Digital India.
Dr. Jaishankar is India’s former Foreign Secretary, former Indian Ambassador to the United States, and currently Tata Group’s president of Global Corporate Affairs. As a long-standing champion of U.S.-India relations, Jaishankar’s work is well known, including on the U.S.-India nuclear deal; later as India’s Ambassador to the U.S., and most recently as India’s Foreign Secretary he helped shape Prime Minister Modi’s foreign policy, enhancing India’s status as a world power. He continues to work with determination in the private sector.
The number of awards presented to our board members is unprecedented and demonstrates important recognition by the Government of India of the recipients’ contributions to society. Collectively, it is clear that USISPF leadership is making the right impact.
We are honored to have these three individuals among us as leaders of the Forum. We salute them for their tireless work in enhancing U.S.-India ties and thank our members and government partners for supporting our 18-month young start-up.
Dr. Mukesh Aghi
President and CEO,
US-India Strategic Partnership Forum