Meera Shankar, India's ambassador to the U.S., addressed the USA India Business Conference last year.

The first USA India Business Summit held last year in Atlanta featured a presentation by Meera Shankar, India’s ambassador to the U.S., who spoke of her country as a “megamarket” that is to become one of the world’s leading economies in the near future.

This year’s summit, June 21-22, also will feature an impressive list of  speakers, but the emphasis will be on more practical considerations of how to penetrate India’s markets and bridge cross-cultural divides.

“The bonds we forged last year are beginning to bloom and grow,” Ani Agnihotri, last year’s program chair who has assumed the same responsibilities this year, told GlobalAtlanta. “Experts will share their insights on the emerging entrepreneurial opportunities in both the U.S. and India.”

He encourages local businesspeople from a wide variety of fields including health care, finance and technology to attend this year’s summit so that they can learn of the personal success stories of their counterparts who have succeeded in India despite the challenges they faced.

While there will be opportunities to learn about the future of the Indian economy, globalization and the U.S.-India trade relationship, he added that this year’s attendees also will provide practical advice for small companies as well as large-scale industries.

Uday Kumar Varma, secretary in India’s Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, is to address the opportunities India provides for the companies that his ministry oversees, and is one of four scheduled keynote speakers.

V.S. Senthil, who currently is the head of the economic wing in the Indian Embassy in Washington, oversees India-U.S. relations in a variety of fields including energy, agriculture, urban development and environment and climate change issues, is another keynoter.

Mr. Senthil in an earlier position as joint secretary in the Ministry of Finance in India worked with local governments in designing tax laws and infrastructure financing models.

He also has had extensive financial experience as a member of the board of the Cochin Stock Exchange and as director on the board of an Indian bank.

Another of the scheduled keynote speakers is Sushna Berlia, a leading female entrepreneur and industrialist in India and president of the Apeejay Stya Group.

Ms. Berlia’s group has interests in pharmaceuticals and life sciences, chemicals and plastics, real estate and development, international trading and distribution, information technology, financial services, merchant banking and publishing.

She also is committed to expanding educational opportunities in India and supports more than a dozen schools and 16 institutions of higher learning, which provide affordable educations to more than 32,000 students across the country from pre-nursery to doctoral levels.

Ms. Berlia recently established the Apeejay Stya University of which she now is chancellor.

Ray Vickery, who served as an assistant secretary of commerce, trade and development from 1993-97 in India, also is a scheduled keynoter.

Mr. Vickery is a leading U.S. expert on India-U.S. relations and played a primary role in the passage of the U.S. India civil nuclear legislation.

He also has been instrumental in U.S.-India initiatives on green energy, higher education, technology, health security, intellectual property and chemistry.

Currently Mr. Vickery is senior director of the Albright Stonebridge Group LLC, the Washington-based global strategy firm headed by Madeline Albright, former secretary of state; Sandy Berger, former national security adviser and Warren Rudman, former U.S. senator from New Hampshire.

Mr. Vickery also is of counsel with the international law firm, Hogan Lovells LLP.

Aside from the keynote speakers, experts are to participate in panels on such topics as investment opportunities in India and the U.S.; legal, marketing and strategic approaches for entering India’ markets; emerging entrepreneurship and innovation opportunities and corporate success stories.

To learn more about the summit, go to