Current Research & Teaching

Teaching at Takshashila Since my family, colleagues and editors read this site, I solemnly affirm that I am actually working on four broad areas: information age politics, cyber strategy, space power and maritime strategy.

Research

Some of my publications are listed on Google Scholar and on ResearchGate. Too lazy to update them regularly.

I have the sheer joy of working with a small but massively multidisciplinary team. My colleagues currently include a chip designer, a cancer biologist, a retired spymaster, an ex-nightclub manager, a couple of economists, a banker, a three-star general, a barman, engineers of various flavours, sundry poets and suchlike.

Politics and Governance in the Information Age

The stuff that I’m teaching is further down this page ↓

Most of our political structures, from the nation-state to hierarchical organisations, evolved for the Industrial Age. As society gets radically networked, these structures are coming under increasing stress and often fighting for relevance. Similarly, the edifices of liberal democracy and free markets are constructed of individuals being capable of reason and exercising judgement that promotes their self interest. Advances in the cognitive sciences are challenging these assumptions. If information cascades and social proof – and not individual rational judgement – overwhelmingly determine how people form opinions, then we need better ways to uphold liberty and civil society.

You’ll find a lot of interesting research on Takshashila’s website.

My work currently involves applying insights from a number of disciplines to understand these problems better. Some of this immediately feeds into Takshashila’s research programme in high tech geopolitics and governance of technology platforms.

Cyber Strategy With cyber strategy research, I am returning back to my tech roots. After long hiatus, I am back studying how India can accumulate and employ cyber power in the pursuit of its national interest.

Takshashila is among the fewer-than-handful institutions working on this.

Space Power Takshashila proposed a draft space policy for India that played a role in the liberalisation of the Space sector in 2020. We also released a draft military space doctrine. I am personally interested in the emergence of astropolitics, and India’s approach to the emerging contest for power among space-faring nations. Takshashila has some great research in this, er, space.

This really floats my boat. And the Indian Navy rocks!

Maritime Strategy I have long been an advocate of maritime power, arguing that the Indian Navy must operate east of the Malacca Straits in order to manage the expansion of Chinese power in the region. My work in this area covers analysis of maritime doctrine, naval strategy and diplomacy in the Indo-Pacific region.

If you are interested in joining our team or collaborating in some of these areas, do get in touch.


Teaching

Yes, I know the one that goes those who can’t, teach.” I think that put-down was invented to deter soft-skinned, kind-hearted people from taking up teaching. For if you can’t handle snarky comments, you can’t really teach.

So I teach public policy, international relations, technology policy and ethical reasoning at Takshashila Institution. The school offers a 12-week Graduate Certificate in Public Policy (GCPP) and 48-week Post Graduate Programme in Public Policy (PGP). All courses are taught online.

Takshashila GCPP Class Photo

These are the courses I am teaching in the Academic Years 2021 and 2022

PP213: Ethical Reasoning in Public Policy

Kenan Malik’s The Quest for a Moral Compass is the course text book.

This course is offered as a compulsory credit course for PGP and workshop session for GCPP. I take students through reflection techniques, moral dilemmas, ethical frameworks (virtue, duty, dharma, consequentialist and constitutional) and an Eightfold Path for Ethical Reasoning in Public Policy. We then discuss a series of ethical dilemmas in the form of cases, and students engage in a formal debate. Evaluation is through class participation and reflective essay.

You can take this course as a stand-alone special credit course, usually in September.

CT2: Social Impact Analysis and Responsible Strategy

This course is offered as a core module for GCPP (Tech and Policy) and involves 4 weeks of coursework and one weekend workshop. We use our Social Impact Analysis framework to enable technologists, scientists and entrepreneurs to anticipated the intended and unintended consequences of innovations. The framework estimates how individuals, markets, governments and society might respond to new technology. This is used to analyse risks, manage stakeholders and address ethical concerns. Evaluation is through a workshop and an intense real life policy analysis exercise.

CS3: Economics of Strategy

Paul Kennedy’s The Rise and Fall of Great Powers, and Mikail Wigel’s Geo-economics and power politics in the 21st Century are the course text books.

This is offered as a core module for GCPP (Defence and Foreign Affairs) and involves 6 weeks of webinars, course work and graded assessment. It covers the sources, utility, strengths and limitations of economic power in statecraft. We cover a lot of ground in the direct and indirect use of economic power, and its transformation into military, knowledge and cultural power.



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