Dr. Mukesh Aghi – President & CEO at US-India Strategic Partnership Forum

Transparent, passionate, and humble leader

Dr. Mukesh Aghi has over 30 years’ experience leading complex operations at large global corporations, from enterprise software maker JD Edwards to IT giants IBM and Steria, across geographies as diverse as Japan, Singapore, India, the US, and Europe. He founded the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum to cast sight on matters beyond trade between the two countries— the ties between the two nations can and should extend to sustainability, security, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

As the only independent not-for-profit institution dedicated to strengthening the U.S.-India partnership in Washington, D.C. and in New Delhi, USISPF is the trusted partner for businesses, non-profit organizations, the diaspora, and the government of India and the United States. USISPF builds, enables, advocates, facilitates, and guides partnerships between the two countries by providing a platform for all stakeholders to come together in new ways that will create meaningful opportunities with the power to change the lives of citizens in both countries.
USISPF has six areas of work:

Business Policy Advocacy

USISPF assists its member companies in engaging with federal and state governments on policy advocacy to strengthen the economic and commercial partnership between the two countries. Connecting businesses and governments USISPF provides its member companies a platform to work together and to track opportunities at the state and federal level. USISPF also drives deeper collaboration by facilitating introductions between government entities and businesses.

Strategic Engagement

USISPF helps business, government, and other stakeholders engage in public-private partnerships that strengthen the U.S.-India strategic partnership such as that in the all-important Indo-Pacific region. It works to deepen the role of both nations in tackling global and regional challenges through theme-based research and knowledge sharing.

Legislative Affairs

USISPF facilitates engagement between its member companies and the legislative branches in both countries through frequent structured dialogues with U.S. Members of Congress and with Members of Parliament in India.

Inclusive Development

USISPF helps all stakeholders work collaboratively towards inclusive development. It helps companies identify opportunities to aggregate their CSR investment with government, non-profit, and private sector partners, to bridge the gap between corporate initiatives and government priorities. Education, Innovation & Entrepreneurship USISPF believes education, innovation, and entrepreneurship are key to fuelling job creation in both India and the US With this in mind, USISPF works with its members and partners to create an environment with a robust IP framework, to support cutting-edge innovation. Additionally, its Startup Connect Program provides an institutional support system for Indian entrepreneurs who are exploring opportunities in the US market.

Struggles and successes

USISPF is a niche organization, backed by a powerful board comprising of CEOs of Fortune 500 companies that works with a laser focus on deepening partnership between the United States and India. USISPF explores market opportunities for its member companies in India to highlight the immense potential that India has for investors as well as for Indian companies that are eyeing the US market.  USISPF covers every aspect of the US-India relationship on a daily basis— from energy, defense, Pharma, and digital economy. They have connections at the highest levels of governments in India and the United States— their annual thought leadership summits have brought together Democrats and Republicans – Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Jared Kushner, Wilbur Ross, India Caucus members to name a few.

Future goals and advice to emerging entrepreneurs

USISPF forges solid partnerships with non-profits, start-ups, and education institutions. USISPF estimates that U.S.-India bilateral trade is likely to grow from $143 billion to $238 billion by 2025. This growth will occur if trade grows by 7.5% each year, as has been the trend for the last 7 years. The estimate also projects that, by 2025, bilateral trade could range between $283 billion to $327 billion, at an annual average growth rate of 10%-12.5% (as witnessed in 2017 and 2018). The assessment underscores pathways for growth and economic opportunity in our bilateral ties by highlighting current trends. Sectors such as defense trade, commercial aircraft, oil and LNG, coal, machinery, and electronics are areas of potential growth in U.S. investments and commerce into India. Similarly, Indian industry has an opportunity to promote the automotive, pharmaceuticals, seafood, IT, and travel services to the U.S. market.Dr. Aghi’s advice for emerging entrepreneurs is pretty straightforward, “Stay focused and be nimble.”

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