“The strategist: How Abu Mus’ab al-Suri inspired ISIS”

My latest research paper is now out as an ORF Occasional Paper, available here.


This paper takes a look into the life and work of Abu Mus’ab al-Suri, jihadist theorist, and argues that he should be considered the architect of the extant Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). This is done by way of an examination of his own writings, as well as secondary literature on al-Suri, al-Qaeda, and ISIS. A key point that emerges out of this analysis is that ISIS is likely to continue its two-pronged strategy: of individual attacks offshore, and consolidating territory in Iraq and Syria.


“Getting real about the Middle Kingdom”

Now that the dust has settled on India’s failed bid for membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) at the Seoul meeting in June — no small thanks to China — Beijing’s stance is being interpreted as a sign of its ‘contain India’ strategy at worst, and anti-India balancing (by hyphenating India’s case for NSG membership with that of Pakistan’s) at best. Failure to join the NSG has been widely interpreted as a failure of Modi’s high-profile diplomacy. Modi the pragmatist has signalled unilateral concessions to China in the past such as opening the possibility of visa-on-arrival for its nationals. His foreign office will now be forced to open new diplomatic fronts in face of growing Chinese obstructionism. The contours of this counter-offensive against China could be driven by three signals — presented here in increasing order of sharpness — and change the optics of the India-China relationship, from the current passive-power play to that of a leading power unafraid to seize diplomatic initiative.

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“BRICS to rebuild the house”

An article with Samir Saran on BRICS was published in the 2016 ORF Primer. Recent consensus has written off the BRICS. Is there a case left to be made for the grouping? We argue that India is the B in BRICS for ‘bright spot,’ and that it will need to take the lead in revitalising the grouping through the NDB and the NDBI as it assumes chairmanship of BRICS this year. Article here.

“Asian connectivity and its geoeconomic imperatives”

An essay published in the Firstpost: http://www.firstpost.com/world/raisina-files-asian-connectivity-is-more-about-the-balance-of-power-than-bringing-people-together-2647676.html. This will also be published as a chapter in the Observer Research Foundation’s “Raisina Files” volume.

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“Balance in a titled, technicolour world”

An essay (with Samir Saran) in the Firstpost: http://www.firstpost.com/world/raisina-files-seeking-a-sense-of-balance-in-a-tilted-multipolar-and-technicolour-world-2647718.html. This will also be published as a chapter in the Observer Research Foundation’s “Raisina Files” volume.

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