Benjamin Schwartz leads the U.S.-India Business Council’s Defense and Aerospace program. In this capacity, he advocates for pro-trade policies before senior officials in the Office of the Indian Prime Minister, Indian Ministry of Defense, Indian Ministry of External Affairs as well as in Washington D.C. before U.S. Armed Services, Foreign Affairs and other congressional committee staffs and a myriad of executive branch agencies, including the National Security Council, State Department, Commerce Department and Defense Department.
Schwartz previously served in a range of positions within the U.S. national security community, including at the Department of State, Department of Energy, and Department of Defense. As Director for India in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, he directly supported Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and Undersecretary Frank Kendall in implementing the U.S.-India Defense Technology and Trade Initiative. In this capacity, Schwartz was instrumental in establishing groundbreaking U.S.-India aircraft carrier and jet engine technology cooperation and securing Prime Minister Modi and President Obama’s commitment to new private sector DTTI “pathfinder projects”. Within the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Schwartz also served as the Director for Singapore and the South China Seas as well as an advisor for Special Operations, Combating Terrorism and Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction. He is the author of Right of Boom (Overlook Press, 2015), which focuses on threats posed by nuclear weapons and his unclassified writings have appears in journals such as the Wall Street Journal, The American Interest, the Diplomat, the Washington Post, and Orbis as well as various newspapers.
Schwartz was born in Pittsburgh, PA and completed his undergraduate work at Swarthmore College. Initially focused on finance, Ben worked at the World Trade Center in New York City but shifted his career to national security after al-Qa'ida's attacks on 9/11. Recruited by the U.S. Intelligence Community, Ben entered government service through analytical positions at CIA and the Department of State and joined the civil service as a Presidential Management Fellow after completing a Master Degree in International Relations with concentrations in International Economics and Strategic Studies at Johns Hopkins SAIS. He lives with his wife and three children in the Washington D.C. area.
Sukanya serves as the communications lead for the U.S.-India Business Council. In this role, she is responsible for the overall messaging and branding of the organization, maintaining relations with members of the press, and key sector-specific policy campaigns as well as events.
Prior to this role, Sukanya handled communications and fundraising responsibilities at international non-profits such as ClearWater Initiative and Room to Read where she organized large-scale fundraising and marketing campaigns. She has experience in handling business development projects in emerging markets and has worked on donor engagement programs in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. She has also worked as a communications specialist with advocacy groups that highlight matters related to gender inequality, climate change impact and the creative commons movement.
Sukanya has studied at Sociology at Lady Shriram College (Delhi University), and received her MFA from the California Institute of the Arts.
She is fluent in Hindi and Bengali and loves kickboxing and traveling.
Rohan Sirkar directs USIBC's Financial Services, Real Estate and the USIBC Task Force on Supply Chain Standards and Practices portfolio from on the ground in Mumbai, additionally he also provides depth in the region across verticals for the Council. He is primarily engaged in Policy Research & Advocacy, which in turn culminates to representations and reports for Industry, Regulators and Departments of the Government for companies that liaise with USIBC. Rohan began his career as an Officer Trainee at IndusInd Bank and prior to joining USIBC, he led the Banking, Financial Inclusion and Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC) verticals for Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
Rohan holds a Masters in Management Studies (MMS) - Finance from K.J Somaiya Institute of Management Studies and Research, and Bachelors degrees in Commerce from Narsee Monjee College of Commerce and Economics in Mumbai. A hardcore Tennis and Formula 1 fan, he lives with family in Mumbai, India.
Thea Uppal leads the West Coast office in San Francisco, California and is a Policy Director at the U.S.-India Business Council, U.S. Chamber of Commerce. She works with the policy advocacy and investment agendas important to the companies resident in the western states and promotes points of engagement with visiting GoI and State Governments of India along with Federal and State government stakeholders in the US. She serves as Director for Renewables on the Energy & Environment Committee, Director on the Media & Entertainment Committee and leads USIBC’s Fintech & Payment Platform Initiative (FPP). Uppal further works across councils in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s International Division, helping to engage new industries and regional stakeholders through supporting trilateral summits, major industry forums and cross-cutting platforms for the many foreign markets that draw investment from the United States.
Prior to joining USIBC in 2013, Uppal was living abroad in Canada. She worked in the film industry in production, marketing and sales and held several research positions focused in foreign markets including: commodity chain analysis in India; financial inclusion & food security in Canada and sustainable world city development in Asia. A native of Arizona, Thea originally moved abroad to study at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. There she received her B.A. in Asian Area Studies and her M.A. in Asia Pacific Policy Studies, with a concentration in Economic and Social Change in India. While a graduate student, she also worked for the Institute of Asian Research, assigned to China-India relations and Tibetan studies and coordinated her first international summit. Thea further studied South Asian languages in India, including the art of Urdu calligraphy, Linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Fine Art, Photography at the University of Arizona. Ms. Uppal lives in Northern California with her husband