Welcome! I am a PhD Candidate at Cornell University's Department of Government. Prior to joining Cornell, I was a senior researcher (South Asia) at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Monterey CA.
My dissertation explains the historical lag in India's development, deployment,
and the operational-use planning of its nuclear force despite unambiguous
national security threats. Using a multi-disciplinary
approach, which combines insights from New Institutionalism, organization
theory and Cognitive Psychology with historical process tracing and elite
interviewing methods, I argue that there are two interrelated causes for the Indian state’s historic
underperformance: (a) the absence of a strongly institutionalized “epistemic
community” within the state; and (b) the absence of shared policy-planning and
decision-making processes. The first cause is institutional while the second
organizational. I show that epistemic communities as knowledge brokers are
necessary for socializing a state’s decision-makers into new learning
practices. For learning to occur, epistemic communities must also operate in
relatively open and non-monopolistic policy planning and decision-making
environments. The latter reduce the scope for heuristics and cognitive biases among decision-makers; and are conducive for relatively rational and optimal policy outcomes. I present evidence to show that Indian decision-makers partially
mobilized a national security-centric “epistemic community” in the pre-1998
era; and only slowly institutionalized it within the state in the post-1998
decade. These base conditions, when grafted on to highly centralized,
compartmentalized and monopolistic policy planning and decision-making
processes, attenuated the Indian state’s policy capacity. The net result has
been policy outcomes riddled with heuristic and cognitive biases alongside the
weak actualization of instituted policies.
My research and teaching interests include nuclear proliferation, the domestic sources of foreign policy, military strategy and doctrine, the sociology of technology construction, institutions, cognitive psychology and elite decision-making, and South Asia.