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Event Summary

Many US policymakers originally thought the US-India Civil Nuclear Agreement had the potential to transform Asia and the world. But India’s antimarket policies and occasional US economic restrictions imposed on India not only threaten the transformative power of the nuclear agreement, but also affect overall economic relations. At a Capitol Hill event on Wednesday, Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) gave a keynote address in which he stressed that the US should first and foremost promote economic reform and free enterprise in India.

Mark Brunner of the Senate India Caucus kicked off a panel discussion by emphasizing that the US should strive to support India as it becomes a major player in South Asia. Rajiv Kumar of New Delhi’s Center for Policy Research pointed to India’s worsening macroeconomic situation, stalling reforms, and public-sector losses as evidence of India’s need to get back on a path to economic growth. Diane Farrell of the US-India Business Council urged Indian policymakers to make regulations more business friendly. Nitin Pai of Bangalore’s Takshashila Institution concluded that irrespective of the economic performance of the US or India, the countries must remain natural allies.
–Hemal Shah

Event Description

Two decades after the end of the Cold War and the beginning of Indian economic reform, US-India ties are at a crossroads. On the one hand, the two democracies cooperate more broadly on more issues than ever before. On the other hand, India’s recent economic slowdown — and a rash of controversial policies that many US businesses see as discriminatory — have set back commercial ties that ought to be the lifeblood of the relationship.

At this AEI conference, which coincides with the release of a new report on US-India economic relations, leading experts from the US and India will lay out next steps for both countries.

Please note, this event will not be livestreamed.

To RSVP, please contact Hemal Shah: [email protected], 202.862.5889. As places are limited and registration closes Monday, November 18, please RSVP as soon as possible.


8:15 AM
Security Clearance

8:30 AM
Sadanand Dhume, AEI

8:40 AM
Keynote Address:
John Cornyn, Senate India Caucus Cochair (R-TX)

9:00 AM
Panel Discussion:
Mark Brunner, Senate India Caucus
Diane Farrell, US-India Business Council
Rajiv Kumar, Center for Policy Research
Nitin Pai, Takshashila Institution

Sadanand Dhume, AEI

10:30 AM

Event Contact Information

For more information, please contact Hemal Shah at [email protected], 202.862.5889.

Media Contact Information

For media inquiries, please contact [email protected], 202.862.5829.

Speaker Biographies

Mark Brunner is the senior adviser to Senator Mark Warner (D-VA). In this capacity, he is the senator’s principal adviser on defense, foreign policy, and energy issues. Brunner also serves as the director of the Senate India Caucus, which Senator Warner cochairs, as well as the Alliance to Save Energy where Senator Warner serves as the honorary chair. He previously worked for John Warner, former senator and former chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. In that capacity, he was a military legislative assistant and speechwriter, providing analysis and formulating legislative policy on a wide range of national security and foreign policy issues.  

John Cornyn serves on the US Senate Committee on Finance and Judiciary Committee. He serves as the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee’s Immigration, Refugees and Border Security subcommittee. He previously served as Texas attorney general, Texas Supreme Court justice, and Bexar County District judge. In 2004, Sen. Cornyn cofounded the Senate India Caucus as a bipartisan coalition and forum for senators to work closely with Indian government officials and Indian Americans in promoting US-India bilateral relations and to candidly discuss issues of common interest. He also cochairs the Senate India Caucus.

Sadanand Dhume is a resident fellow at AEI. He writes about South Asian political economy, foreign policy, business, and society, with a focus on India and Pakistan. He is also a South Asia columnist for The Wall Street Journal. He has worked as a foreign correspondent for the Far Eastern Economic Review in India and Indonesia and was a Bernard Schwartz Fellow at the Asia Society in Washington, DC. His political travelogue about the rise of radical Islam in Indonesia, “My Friend the Fanatic: Travels with a Radical Islamist” (Skyhorse Publishing, 2009), has been published in four countries. He has twice been selected by Foreign Policy magazine as one of the world’s top 100 Twitterati.

Diane Farrell is the executive vice president of the US-India Business Council (USIBC). She oversees business advocacy and membership services for media and entertainment, real estate, and infrastructure development. Before joining USIBC, she served on the board of directors at the Export-Import Bank of the United States. She was named a member of the White House Business Council and has served as the first selectwoman (mayor) of Westport, CT, and as chairwoman of the Southwestern Connecticut Regional Planning Agency Metropolitan Planning Organization.

Rajiv Kumar, one of India’s leading economists and the author of several books, is currently a senior fellow at the Center for Policy Research in New Delhi. He has most recently been the secretary general of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry. Previously, he was director and chief executive of the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations, one of India’s leading independent economic policy think tanks. He has also been a nonexecutive director on the central board of the State Bank of India since August 2012. Kumar worked for the Government of India from 1989 to 1995, including as economic adviser in the Ministry of Finance. In 1995, Kumar joined the Asian Development Bank in Manila and then returned to India to join the Confederation of Indian Industries in New Delhi as chief economist. His latest book, “Many Futures of India” (Academic Foundation, 2011), is a compilation of his columns in some of India’s leading dailies.

Nitin Pai is a cofounder of the Takshashila Institution, an independent, nonpartisan think tank and school of public policy in India. His policy research areas are geopolitics, strategy, national security, and social capital. Pai spent more than a decade working in the Singapore government in various capacities, including in deregulation, broadband infrastructure development, and strategic technology foresight. Earlier in his career, he designed part of a satellite payload, bits of radio-frequency equipment, and was involved in building India’s first private undersea cable.

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