"We are extremely proud to welcome Ratan to our board of trustees," said Harvey V. Fineberg, chairman of the board in a statement announcing Tata's induction.
Ratan has an unparalleled knowledge of the global economy, as well as the business sector in one of the world's most important emerging economies. He has enormous experience managing large organizations, and I know he will be a tremendous asset for Carnegie."
Welcoming Tata to Carnegie's board, the think tank president Jessica T. Mathews said: "As we continue to develop the world's first truly global think tank, including establishing a South Asia Centre in New Delhi, I can think of few better people to help us in that mission."
Tata, who is also a member of the Indian Prime Minister's Council on Trade and Industry, was chairman of Tata Sons, the holding company of the Tata Group, from 1991 until his retirement at the end of 2012.
Currently chairman of Tata Trusts, he also heads two of the largest private-sector-promoted philanthropic trusts in India.
One of the oldest US think tanks, Carnegie has a global network of policy research centres in Russia, China, Europe, the Middle East, and the US.