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U.S. Chamber appoints ‘driven, visionary’ Indian-American as president of the U.S.-India Business Council

Former Obama administration’s Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Nisha Desai Biswal who takes over as President of U.S.-India Business Council from Oct. 23, at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

India is “one of the most significant and fastest growing markets” says the incoming head of the U.S. – India Business Council Nisha Desai Biswal, who takes over as President of the organization Oct. 23.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce announced her appointment to head the USIBC Oct. 10. Biswal is the  former Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia during the Obama administration, from 2013 to 2017. She resigned her State Department post with the incoming administration of President Donald Trump.

“We are thrilled to welcome Nisha Biswal to the U.S.-India Business Council and to the U.S. Chamber team,” Myron Brilliant, U.S. Chamber executive vice president and head of International Affairs, is quoted saying in a press release. “She is a driven, visionary leader who has a strong record of advancing United States business across the growth markets of Asia and throughout India. Under her strong leadership, we’re confident the U.S.-India Business Council will play a critical role growing commercial partnership, investment, and innovation across the world’s oldest and largest democracies.”

As Assistant Secretary, Biswal oversaw the U.S.-India strategic partnership during a period of unprecedented cooperation, including launching the U.S.-India Strategic and Commercial Dialogue. In January this year, the Indian government awarded her the Bharatiya Samman award for her work furthering the bilateral relationship.

Before her State Department assignment, Biswal served as Assistant Administrator for Asia at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) which was headed then by another Indian-American Raj Shah.

Biswal’s experience in government affairs is deep and varied. She spent more than ten years on Capitol Hill, serving as staff director on the State, Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee and the Foreign Affairs Committee in the House of Representatives. ?

Most recently, she was a senior advisor with the Albright Stonebridge Group, where she helped expand the firm’s India and South Asia practice.

“I am honored and excited by the opportunity to lead the U.S.-India Business Council and to join the leadership of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce during a period of historic opportunity for both countries,” Biswal is quoted saying in the press release. “As one of the most significant and fastest growing markets, India is an important economic partner for the United States,” Biswal said. She also noted that Indian companies are investing in ever greater numbers in the United States.

“I am proud to be part of a prosperous future for the citizens of the United States and India,” Biswal said.

The USIBC went through an internal spat that culminated in June-July with a virtual walkout by top Indian-American and other CEOs from the organization, including former head of USIBC Mukesh Aghi, PepsiCo chief Indra Nooyi, Mastercard Worldwide chief Ajay Banga,  and Cisco’s John Chambers, in a bid to form a separate organization. According to news reports those who quit the Council had differences with the US Chambers of Commerce and other members of USIBC who pushed for a stronger stance against India on trade and other matters. How Biswal tackles these differences will be a test for the new leader.

Biswal has served on the board of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, and is a current member of the U.S. Institute of Peace International Advisory Council and the Institute for Sustainable Communities Board of Directors.

Formed in 1975 at the request of the U.S. and Indian governments, the U.S.-India Business Council is seen as the premier business advocacy organization, comprised of 350 top-tier U.S. and Indian companies advancing U.S.-India commercial ties. USIBC is the largest bilateral trade association in the United States, with liaison presence in New York, Silicon Valley, and New Delhi.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.