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Himalayan Crossings: Explaining the Rise of China and India

Selected Insights on US Foreign Policy and on Political Economy, Security, Finance, and Information Technologies in and between South Asia and Greater China


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About Me

I’m currently teaching politics at Georgetown University.

My work is based on the premise that security should be broadly defined to encompass economy, international society, military security, and technology. My qualitative research approach blends international and domestic factors, emphasizing political institutions, political elites, and international-domestic dynamics.

Research Teaching and Consulting Interests
South and East Asia (India, Pakistan, Kashmir, China, Tibet); Comparative and International Political Economy; Finance; Trade; Inequality; Foreign Policy; Comparative Politics; Grand Strategy; Technology; Sovereignty; Nationalism.

Research and Writing
My current research and writing is focused on several projects.

I’m revising a book manuscript based on my doctoral thesis, “The Diversity of Convergence: State Authority, Economic Governance, and the Politics of Securities Finance in India and China.” Comparing the politics of stock and bond market development in China and India during the 1990s, I explain how and why India’s financial system is less politicized and less fragile than China’s.

I’m also preparing three journal articles drawing on research conducted in Asia in 2004-2005 and earlier.

The first paper analyzes Indian grand strategy and foreign policy in the context of the US-China-India strategic triangle. The paper has two key findings. First, India has vast “soft power” potential based on the legitimacy of its many identities (eg. high-tech power-house and developing nation; rising global power and low-income post-colonial country). Second, New Delhi is likely to pursue a foreign policy of “equipoise”; neither balancing nor bandwagoning outright along either the China or India legs of the US-China-India strategic triangle.

Another paper analyzes the India-China rivalry in information technology with a focus on the politics of India’s first leading global sector – information technology services.

Finally, a third paper identifies contested sovereignty as a key driver of Asian insecurity. Relying on evidence from conflicts in Kashmir, Sri Lanka, the Korean Peninsula, the Taiwan Straits, and the South China Sea the paper argues that greater attention to contested sovereignty in Asia and less emphasis on what Aaron Friedberg calls its “institutionalization deficit” will help us better understand – and more effectively mitigate – the region’s insecurity.

Teaching
I’ve taught at Cornell, Princeton and the Monterey Naval Postgraduate School and have given lectures in the US, China, India, and Pakistan.

When teaching undergraduates, I emphasize the cultivation of those skills I consider important in the development of self-educating, responsible citizens. These include the capacity for critical analysis, clear argumentation, and independent thinking. I’m an advocate of visual and multimedia-assisted pedagogy and I’m enthusiastic exponent of IT-enabled learning environments and the Yale Business School model of “raw case studies”.

Background
My doctoral degree in Political Science is from Cornell University’s Department of Government. In the past, I’ve received fellowships from the Institute of Current World Affairs; the Mellon Foundation; the Social Science Research Council; the Committee on Scholarly Communication with China; the Fulbright Program; and the American Institute of Indian Studies. My work on political economy and security policy has appeared in The Hindu, The Business Standard, The Economist Intelligence Unit, and The Chicago Tribune, and Economic and Political Weekly. I’ve presented papers at annual conferences of the American Political Science Association; the Association of Asian Studies; the International Studies Association; and the University of Wisconsin Annual South Asia Conference. In 2006, I was a research and teaching fellow at Princeton University’s Institute for International and Regional Studies.

Before entering academia, I worked for three years at the Stimson Center, a defense policy and arms-control research institute in Washington, DC. At the Stimson Center, I collaborated in the first generation of studies and programs on Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) in regions of tension. Focusing on South Asia and North East Asia, I traveled regularly to India and Pakistan for research and project development. During that time I was also the liaison between visiting fellows and CBM experts in the US departments of Defense and State. I’ve spent eight years studying in India and conducting research around South Asia. I’ve also studied and conducted research in Greater China for over two years. I speak Hindi, Mandarin, and French.

Service
With Vibha Pingle, I am now involved with Ubuntu at Work, a start-up non-governmental organization providing support and business advice via a social networking site to entrepreneurial women recipients of micro-lending in India, Egypt and South Africa. Ubuntu at Work is a group of social entrepreneurs, professionals, and academics from across three continents. We have created Ubuntu at Work with the goal of assisting women micro-entrepreneurs. Ubuntu at Work is driven by our core belief that leveraging global networks can help women and their communities aspire to better futures and to move along a more rapid and equitable development trajectory.

Personal
I live, work, and play in the Bay Area where I enjoy rock climbing, and am an avid cyclist and player of soccer and squash.

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