Dhruva Jaishankar is a transatlantic fellow with GMF's Asia Program. In this capacity, he manages GMF’s India Trilateral Forum — a twice-yearly strategic dialogue between the United States, Europe, and India — and organizes regular policy meetings on Pakistan. He also conducts research on Indian foreign and security policy and on Internet freedom in South and Southeast Asia, edits GMF’s Transatlantic Take series, and is a regular commentator on international affairs and security for several publications in India and the United States.
Jaishankar was previously program officer for Asia at GMF, senior research assistant with the 21st Century Defense Initiative at the Brookings Institution, research assistant in Foreign Policy Studies at Brookings, news writer and reporter for CNN-IBN television in New Delhi, and Brent Scowcroft Award Fellow with the Aspen Strategy Group. His commentary and analysis have appeared in several publications including The Atlantic, The Business Standard, The Diplomat, Economic Times, Foreign Policy, The Globe and Mail, The Indian Express, The National Interest, and Politico, and he has been quoted or interviewed by The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. In 2013, he was named an inaugural IISS-SAIS Merrill Center Young Strategist.
A native of New Delhi, Jaishankar has also lived and studied in the United States, Japan, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Sri Lanka. He has a bachelor's from Macalester College where he studied history and classics, and a master's in security studies from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. He is a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
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News ArticlesFrom Bombay to Jerusalem: With the crisis in Iraq worsening, how involved should India get in the Middle East?July 02, 2014The first high-profile national security challenge facing India's new Prime Minister Narendra Modi has come in an unexpected spot: Iraq. Over 100 Indians -- including 46 nurses -- were caught stranded in Iraq's conflict zone, while some 40 Indian construction workers were kidnapped in Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city.Uncharming and OffensiveJune 05, 2014China’s ham-fisted attempt at international comity at the Shangri-La Dialogue is a worrisome harbinger of regional aggression.Resilience and the Future Balance of PowerMay 27, 2014Not long ago - in the 1980s, in fact - the US policy community was in the throes of a high-stakes debate about the nature and extent of Soviet power. Eeny, Meeny, Miney, ModiMay 20, 2014Does India’s new prime minister actually have a foreign policy?A Crimean crisis for DelhiMarch 28, 2014Russia's virtually bloodless annexation of Crimea has shaken Europe. A Fine Balance: India, Japan and the United StatesJanuary 24, 2014This weekend, the world will be treated to an unusual sight: Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe inspecting a military parade which will be showcasing, among other things, nuclear-capable ballistic missiles.2014’s Known unknowns: What India and world can expect from 2014January 03, 2014The year 2013 certainly confounded many people’s expectations.Does ‘South Asia’ Exist?December 04, 2013Like many other regular readers of Foreign Policy's AfPak Channel, I was surprised by the announcement that it is to be rebranded as the South Asia Channel. US-India The Way ForwardSeptember 27, 2013If Manmohan Singh can reinforce, with greater conviction, the merits of better cooperation with the United States during his visit, it will cap an important aspect of his legacy as prime ministerLike U.S., can India ever take a tough stand on Syria, or any other global issue?September 12, 2013As the US Congress debates the authorisation of force against Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria, there is a rare point of consensus in hyperpartisan Washington. The Case for India’s Nuclear WeaponsSeptember 07, 2013Nuclear weapons again cannot be credited or blamed for the contrasting fortunes of the two subcontinental powers, but perhaps India did stand to gain in relative terms from the modicum of stability they provided.Re-engaging WashingtonAugust 19, 2013However you slice it, President Barack Obama's preoccupations, the secretary of state's travel schedule and the Republican rhetoric suggest that Washington has only two real policy priorities today.Beyond Snowden: US Surveillance System a Useful Model for Democratic, Terror-Hit IndiaJune 27, 2013For all its obvious faults, PRISM, offers India a model for how to fashion a regime that goes some way towards assuaging various stakeholders, including the government, individuals and the private sector.A Wider View of India and Japan’s Foreign Policy Reveals Clear StrategyJune 14, 2013There are many reasons why India’s foreign policy remains something of an enigma to analysts, scholars, and reporters — both in India and abroad.Will Xi Jinping-Barack Obama Meet Leave India at the Risk of Strategic Marginalisation?June 07, 2013India is not projected to feature prominently in the discussions between Xi and Obama, with cyber security, North Korea and military contacts expected to top the agenda.The Great Sino-Indian Alpine Tent Party of 2013May 09, 2013China's latest border squabble with India might seem trivial, but the consequences could set Asia on edge. The Huge Cost of India’s Discrimination Against WomenMarch 18, 2013Modern India somehow manages to be, at the same time, the land of Indira Gandhi and Mother Theresa and of child brides and dowry deaths.Gentle GiantMarch 06, 2013Given its enormous size, India's military has relatively little political or bureaucratic clout -- particularly when compared to China -- and consequently less say in resource allocations. Return of the G2February 07, 2013With Kerry succeeding Clinton, the US may opt for closer ties with ChinaPicking Up From Clinton, Kerry Should Focus on AsiaFebruary 04, 2013As John Kerry assumes the role of Secretary of State, Clinton’s track record in Asia offers some useful guidance. Engaging WiselyJanuary 16, 2013Strategic autonomy has served India’s foreign policy well till now.India’s OceanDecember 07, 2012Could Indian Navy growth shift balance of power in the Pacific Ocean? A Tale of Two SuperpowersNovember 04, 2012The transparency and participatory nature of the U.S. presidential elections is a critical aspect of comprehensive national power that Beijing – in its current state – will always find wanting.Roads to MandalayOctober 31, 2012An integrated Southeast Asia is in India’s interests1962′s Other Crisis: India and China go to WarOctober 22, 2012Despite the importance of Sino-Indian ties for the United States and other regional and global powers, that relationship is prone to much misinterpretation.U.S., India share long-term interestsJune 13, 2012
It’s become somewhat fashionable over the past year to criticize the U.S.-India relationship. Washington has expressed dismay at India’s backpedaling on market reforms that would have benefited U.S. corporations. It accuses New Delhi of not upholding India’s end of a landmark civilian nuclear agreement.
Predicting the decline of the liberal order (often inextricably linked to narratives about the future of democracy, liberalism, free markets, peace, and global institutions) is an age-old pastime. But, first drafts of history are often destined for the rubbish bin.Ten Commandments of Camp 14May 05, 2012
The tragedy is that the plight of political prisoners in North Korea has received remarkably little attention abroad. They do not feature on the agendas of any bilateral or multilateral diplomatic dialogues with Pyongyang and there is little international activism in their support.India & South Korea: The Promise of PartnershipMay 04, 2012
Both countries are also considered key partners of the United States in the years to come, but maintain complex relations with China marked by growing economic interdependence and intensifying security concerns.The forces behind Dassault’s coupFebruary 10, 2012
India’s multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) competition recently announced that India will now enter into exclusive negotiations with French contractor Dassault for its Rafale. This is a major blow for the other major contender, the Eurofighter Typhoon, the product of a consortium of the major aerospace companies of four partner nations: Germany, UK, Italy, and Spain.Graveyard of EmpiricismDecember 13, 2011
The current round of the Afghanistan debate is riddled with mischaracterizations. While the Cold War produced a cohort of Soviet specialists, the war in Afghanistan has failed to produce sufficient regional expertise in the United States.Wishful Mud-SlingingDecember 02, 2011
Unlike other setbacks, the November 26 NATO assault on Pakistani soldiers that left 26 dead may have larger and irreversable consequences for the U.S. and NATO Allies....A Strong Case to Drop India Uranium BanDecember 02, 2011
It should be no surprise that New Delhi would welcome an Australian decision to export uranium to India. Isolating India on nuclear matters proved a major — and some might say unnecessary — hurdle for US-India relations.Rocky Road to DamascusNovember 16, 2011
No country is ever immune to charges of double standards in its foreign policy, and the Arab Awakening has exposed many contradictions in rhetoric and and behaviour....Pulling U.S.-Pakistan Policy Out of the ShadowsSeptember 30, 2011
Given the urgency of resolving the conflicted relationship between the two nominal allies and the implications for Afghanistan's development, South Asian stability, counterterrorism, and the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, the absence of imaginative thinking on U.S. Pakistan policy has been pretty remarkable.A Fighting ChanceSeptember 28, 2011
Although constituting no major revelations, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen’s testimony to a Senate committee last week, in which he accused Pakistan’s government and military of exporting terrorism, has focused public attention across the US and around the world on the growing fissures in US-Pakistan ties.U.S.-India Relations: Can India Step Up to the Plate?August 02, 2011
It might seem natural to despair about the current state of US-India relations. New Delhi has eliminated two US suppliers from a landmark competition for 126 front-line fighter aircraft, a contract worth over $10 billion.Mixed signalsMay 30, 2011
The weeks since the killing of Osama bin Laden by US Special Forces have witnessed intensified recriminations and engagement between the US and Pakistan. Last week, President Barack Obama said that Pakistan’s obsession with India as an existential threat was misplaced, reiterating a theme he and his top advisers have embraced since assuming office.Killing of Osama bin Laden has rehabilitated reputation of U.S. Government, officialsMay 04, 2011
The dust has already started to settle after President Barack Obama's dramatic announcement on Sunday evening that U.S. special forces had killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in a late-night raid on a compound outside Abbottabad.U.S.-India Relations: From Vision to ProcessNovember 18, 2010Barack Obama’s first visit to India as U.S. president was a welcome tonic for ties between the world’s two largest democratic powers, correcting early missteps by his administration.What’s the Big Idea?October 01, 2010
There are expectations that Barack Obama's maiden trip to India as US president in November will be underwhelming. A month is a long time in international politics, and there is still a small, albeit narrowing, opportunity to create a mutually-acceptable and -beneficial organisational framework that would not only make this visit a personal success for Mr Obama, but also create a political mechanism that serves the interests both of the United States and India.Net assessment in defence policyJune 20, 2010
Net assessment involves simulations, opposition analysis, historical and cultural studies, critical reviews and low-probability, high-impact contingency planning. ReadState of DenialMarch 29, 2010
The last few weeks have been marked by perceived divergences between India and the United States over l'affaire Headley and Pakistan's request for a civilian nuclear agreement. Indian commentators, already frustrated by the direction of U.S.-India relations under President Barack Obama, have used the two incidents to question the potential for a long-term strategic partnership between New Delhi and Washington.Cracking ChimericaFebruary 04, 2010
American foreign policy concepts can be as fickle as fashion trends. The most recent catchphrase is “G-2”, popularised by Zbigniew Brzezinski, and meant to reflect a necessary and desirable duopoly between the US and China. The Obama administration was seen as buying into this concept when it institutionalised a strategic and economic dialogue between the two countries last year.Taking the HeatDecember 01, 2009
Nobody said climate change negotiations would be easy. On both the WTO’s Doha Round and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, India found itself at the vanguard of opposition to the West, with damaging but fortunately not disastrous political consequences. It appeared that a similar outcome was inevitable on climate negotiations.A Cold WindNovember 12, 2009
Barack Obama may be the first post-Boomer president, but he appears to retain a similar orientation to Clinton in matters pertaining to India, although for his generation India is more closely associated with Satyam than satyagraha.
PublicationsChina and India: New Actors in the Southern AtlanticNovember 29, 2012
This policy paper examines the role of China and India in Latin America and Africa, and the implications for the United States and Europe.Toward Strategic Cooperation between India, the United States, and EuropeOctober 24, 2012
This policy brief recounts discussions from the September 2012 India Trilateral Forum.Book Chapter: Europe in Indian StrategySeptember 27, 2012
Ties between Europe and India remain weak for a variety of economic, politico-military, and socio-cultural reasons.Why Principles – and not Players – Should Determine the Nature of the Emerging International OrderMarch 01, 2011
This Brussels Forum Brief says that the arrival of new global powers presents the West with a dilemma: whether to prioritize players or principles in creating a new international architecture that contributes to the continuity and efficacy of international norms.Obama’s Dilemma: Reassurance or Accommodation?November 24, 2009
After eight years of the Bush presidency, when the United States was perceived as disdainful of allies and excessively aggressive toward challengers, U.S. President Barack Obama promised a change in course. This appears to involve closer consultation with partners and greater engagement with adversaries. But despite Obama's optimistic rhetoric, adhering to these two strategies requires his administration to perform a difficult balancing act.