Speaker Bios

Arun SinghHis Excellency Arun K. Singh
India’s Ambassador to the United States

Arun K. Singh joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1979 after completing his master’s degree in economics from Delhi University and teaching at the University for two years.

His first assignment abroad was at the Embassy of India, Moscow from 1981-1982, where he learned Russian. Later, he served at the Indian Missions in Addis Ababa as second secretary from 1982-1985, and in Tokyo as first secretary from 1985-1988. On returning to Delhi at the headquarters of the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, he served as deputy secretary/director dealing with East Asia and Pakistan divisions from 1988-1991. From 1991-1993, he headed the Offices of the Foreign Secretary and the External Affairs Minister of India.

Singh served at the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations Office, New York from 1993-1997 as counsellor and handled multilateral social and economic negotiations. He served in the Indian Mission at Moscow as counsellor/minister from 1997-2000. During his assignment in Delhi from 2000-2005, he served in the capacity of joint secretary dealing first with the United Nations Policy, and then Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran divisions at the Ministry of External Affairs.

Singh served as Ambassador of India to Israel from April 2005 to September 2008; and then as deputy chief of mission at the Embassy of India, Washington D.C., from October 2008 to April 2013. Singh also served as Ambassador of India to France from April 2013 to April 2015. He assumed his new assignment as Ambassador of India to United States on April 30, 2015.

Singh speaks Russian and Japanese and has some knowledge of French and Hebrew. He is married to Maina Chawla Singh. They have one daughter.

Mukesh Aghi

Mukesh Aghi, PhD
President, U.S.-India Business Council

Mukesh Aghi is president of the U.S.-India Business Council.
With more than 27 years of experience across diverse industries and geographies, Aghi has a proven track record of leading various international business giants. His last assignment was as chief executive and member of the board at L&T Infotech. Earlier he served at Steria, Inc.-India, as its CEO, Asia-Pacific and global executive sales director. He serves on various boards such as Computer Sciences Corporation, Claremont Graduate University and the Hindustan Times.

Aghi brings unique market knowledge and access in Europe and extensive experience in several verticals in the services industry. He was responsible for Steria Inc.-India’s top 50 global accounts with revenues exceeding $1.5 billion and was instrumental in the successful merger with Xansa, creating a multi-billion dollar technology services business. In his previous roles, Aghi has associated with Universitas 21 Global (the world's largest consortium of research-led universities and a global leader in providing post-graduate online education); IBM Corporation where he was the president of IBM India; Ariba Inc.; and JD Edwards & Co. to name a few. His expertise spans across management of global consumer and corporate strategies; building and maintaining talent across geographies; profitable turnaround of operations through effective business strategies; management of global joint ventures and alliances and building strong leadership teams.

Aghi holds an advanced management diploma from Harvard Business School, a PhD in International Relations from Claremont Graduate University in California, and an MBA in International Marketing from Andrews University, Michigan. Aghi has also completed his B.A. in Business Administration from the Middle East College, Beirut, Lebanon. Fluent in many international languages, he was recognized by Esquire magazine as a global leader and has won many awards, including the J.R.D. Tata Leadership award. A major marathon and mountaineering enthusiast, Aghi has competed in more than 22 international marathons and has climbed some of the highest peaks both in North America and Europe.

Jagdish BhagwatiJagdish Bhagwati
University Professor of Economics, Columbia University

Jagdish Bhagwati is University Professor at Columbia University and director of the Raj Center on Indian Economic Policies. He was Senior Fellow in International Economics at the Council on Foreign Relations. He has been economic policy adviser to Arthur Dunkel, director general of GATT (1991-93), special adviser on globalization to the UN, and external adviser to the WTO. He has served on the expert group appointed by the director general of the WTO on the future of the WTO and on the advisory committee to Secretary General Kofi Annan on the NEPAD process in Africa. He was also a member of the Eminent Persons Group under the chairmanship of President Fernando Henrique Cardoso on the future of UNCTAD.

Bhagwati has published numerous scholarly articles and writes frequently for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Financial Times. He has reviewed for The New Republic and The Times Literary Supplement. Bhagwati is described as the most creative international trade theorist of his generation and is a leader in the fight for freer trade. His most recent book, In Defense of Globalization (Oxford, 2004), has attracted worldwide acclaim. Five volumes of his scientific writings and two of his public policy essays have been published by MIT press. The recipient of six festschrifts in his honor, he has also received several prizes and honorary degrees, including awards from the governments of India (Padma Vibhushan) and Japan (Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star).

A native of India, Bhagwati attended Cambridge University where he graduated in 1956 with a first in Economics Tripos. He then continued to study at MIT and Oxford, returning to India in 1961 as professor of economics at the Indian Statistical Institute, and then as professor of international trade at the Delhi School of Economics. Bhagwati returned to MIT in 1968, leaving 12 years later as the Ford International Professor of Economics to join Columbia. He is married to Padma Desai, the Gladys and Ronald Harriman Professor of Comparative Economic Systems at Columbia University and a scholar of Russian and other former socialist countries’ transition problems. They have one daughter, Anuradha Kristina.