South Asia Initiative

Views of slums on the shores of mumbai, India against the backdrop of skyscrapers under construction

South Asia Initiative

Using rigorous research and global networks to address the region’s most consequential policy issues

In the Spotlight

Indian Army Soldiers participate in amphibious assault vehicle drills during an exercise with the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command

India Seeks to Reform its Military Amid New Security Threats

The Indian military is falling behind at a time when it faces threats from multiple fronts. Arzan Tarapore talks to DW News about the overdue reforms India must embrace to meet the challenges ahead.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi rides in a tank at Longewala in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, 14 November 2020.

New Policy Paper: India, China, and the Quad’s Defining Test

If the stalemate in the Ladakh crisis between China and India flares into a limited conventional war, one of its incidental victims could be the Quad, writes Arzan Tarapore via the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.
Two destroyer navy ships sail alongside each other

India Should Prioritize a Denial Strategy in the Indian Ocean

A denial strategy in the Indian Ocean will not resolve the current border crisis in Ladakh but would offer a realistic roadmap for building political influence and military power in the region, argues Tarapore

Recently at the South Asia Initiative

Amb. Shivshankar Menon examines India’s strategy in calibrating its partnership with the United States and how that might advance its larger policy goals.

What Does India Want from a Partnership?

What Does India Want from a Partnership?

A Conversation with Shivshankar Menon

South Asia Newsletters and On-Demand Events

Join our mailing list to receive event invitations, analysis, and research updates from our experts and stream our programming with leading South Asia scholars and policymakers on our YouTube channel.

About Us

The South Asia Initiative (SAI) at the Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center (Shorenstein APARC) serves as the University’s hub for policy-relevant research on contemporary South Asia. APARC reestablished SAI in 2020 with the goal of building a unique center of excellence that addresses the region’s most pressing and consequential policy issues.

Our work follows multiple lines of effort: rigorous and high-impact research outputs, including both academic scholarship and general-interest publications; programming that brings world-class expertise to bear on high-interest topics; and collaboration spanning across the world’s key centers of South Asia analysis and key policymaking communities in the United States and across the Indo-Pacific region.

Our goal is to grow into a multidisciplinary research program that makes a globally unique contribution to research, education, and collaboration on South Asia — one that maximizes policy impact by addressing important but relatively understudied issues.

 

Our Research

The South Asia Initiative’s initial research focus is on regional security issues and the region’s most consequential state, India. We supplement that research focus with programming and collaboration on other countries and issues in South Asia, enlisting networks of experts across Stanford and other centers for South Asia studies.

Lead Researcher

Arzan Tarapore, PhD
South Asia Research Scholar

Arzan TaraporeArzan Tarapore is a Research Scholar at Shorenstein APARC, where he is charged with restarting APARC's research effort on South Asia. He is also a senior nonresident fellow at the National Bureau of Asian Research. Tarapore’s research focuses on security issues in South Asia and the rapidly evolving strategic landscape of the wider Indo-Pacific. Prior to his scholarly career, he served for 13 years in the Australian Defence Department in various analytic, management, and liaison positions, including operational deployments and a diplomatic posting to the Australian Embassy in Washington, DC.

Full Biography

Research Projects & Publications

An Indian army convoy drives towards Leh, on a highway bordering China, on June 19, 2020 in Gagangir, India.

Indian Defense Policy

India is an attractive strategic partner to the United States and a key player in the Indo-Pacific, but its defense policy remains understudied. We investigate how India approaches the use of force and prepares its military to manage security threats.
The Indian Navy Talwar-class frigate INS Tarkash (F50) transits alongside the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) during a passing exercise with the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group, Indian Ocean, March 2018

Security in the Indian Ocean Region

Chinese military expansion in the Indian Ocean region poses strategic risks to the United States and its allies and partners. We study these challenges and their implications for policymakers and military planners in Washington and other like-minded capitals.

Publications

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Journal Articles

Indian Ocean Strategic Futures

Arzan Tarapore, David Brewster
Asia Policy , 2021
Re-examining assumptions of capability and intent
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Policy Briefs

Mitigating the Risk of a China–India Conflict

Arzan Tarapore
Australian Strategic Policy Institute , 2021
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Journal Articles

Building Strategic Leverage in the Indian Ocean Region

Arzan Tarapore
The Washington Quarterly , 2020
The United States and its likeminded partners, particularly India — if four constraints are more realistically accounted for — and other members of the Quad, can more effectively mitigate the risks of Chinese military expansion by building “strategic leverage” along these four lines of effort in the Indian Ocean region.
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Policy Briefs

Exploring India's Strategic Futures

Arzan Tarapore
The National Bureau of Asian Research , 2020
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