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Indian American Nisha Biswal to head US-India Business Council

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“So excited and honored to lead USIBC during this period of great potential and promise in the relationship,” tweets Biswal.

Former Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Nisha Desai Biswal speaking at the Indiaspora gala held at Marriott Marquis in Washington, DC, on January 3, 2017. Photo credit: The American Bazaar

(This post has been updated.)

Nisha Desai Biswal, a former Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, will head the US India Business Council, the USIBC’s parent body, the US Chamber of Commerce, announced on Tuesday.

“We are thrilled to welcome Nisha Biswal to the US-India Business Council and to the U.S. Chamber team,” Chamber executive vice president and head of International Affairs Myron Brilliant said in a press statement. “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.”

The 42-year-old former diplomat will start her tenure October 23, 2017.

Biswal succeeds another Indian American, Mukesh Aghi, who left the organization following disagreements with the US Chamber of Commerce. The USIBC, an advocacy group that promotes business and commercial ties between the United States and India, has presence in both the countries.

“So excited and honored to lead USIBC during this period of great potential and promise in the relationship,” Biswal said in a tweet Tuesday afternoon.

“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,” she said in the USIBC release. “As one of the most significant and fastest growing markets, India is an important economic partner for the United States. Likewise, Indian companies are investing in ever greater numbers here in the United States. I am proud to be part of an organization which will play such a critical role shaping U.S.-India relations, and I am thrilled at the chance to help our companies deliver a brighter, more prosperous future for the citizens of the United States and India.”

Since Aghi’s exit, Khush Choksy was serving as the organization’s acting president.

Biswal’s entry is expected to boost the powerful business group that has more than 300 members.

“UPS applauds Nisha being named as the new president of the U.S.-India Business Council,” said Jim Barber, president of UPS International, a member of the USIBC. “At this critical time, she will bring dynamic leadership and well-established economic expertise to the mission of improving the U.S.-India relationship.”

During her tenure at the State Department, Biswal was responsible for US relations with Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

Additionally, Biswal has held positions in other government and non-governmental organizations. Her executive and legislative roles have primarily focused on ensuring that diplomatic efforts enable both human and national security. From September 2010 through 2013, Biswal worked as Assistant Administrator for Asia at USAID and oversaw more than $1 billion US assistance to 22 countries. She also served as the majority clerk for the House Appropriations Committee Foreign Operations Subcommittee (HACFO).

In her roles in the non-government sector, Biswal worked as Director of Public Policy at InterAction, and as an international delegate for the American Red Cross in Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia.

Biswal has a bachelor’s degree in arts from the University of Virginia.  She is married to Subrat Biswal and the couple has two daughters – Safya Biswal and Kaya Biswal.

The Economic Times was the first news outlet to report that Biswal was tapped to head the organization.


  • gzaetz

    I’m not the least bit surprised that Nisha Desai Biswal is the new head of the USIBC. As Obama’s Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, Ms. Biswal’s tunnel vision was focused almost exclusively on enriching US businesses in India and their Indian partners. She consistently ignored the hundreds of US families who wanted her to use her influence to press the Indian Government to allow the return of the remains of their 400 military loved ones – lost in World War II’s epic Hump Airlift – from their numerous crash sites in India. Money was Ms. Biswal’s concern – it certainly wasn’t people.