Shashank Joshi

Position: Senior Research Fellow

Shashank Joshi is a Research Fellow at RUSI and a doctoral student of international relations at Harvard University's Department of Government. He specialises in international security in South Asia and the Middle East.

He holds Masters degrees from Cambridge and Harvard, and previously graduated with a Starred First in politics and economics from Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge University. During 2007-8, he was a Kennedy Scholar from Britain to the United States. 

He has taught as a supervisor and teaching fellow at both Cambridge and Harvard, and also worked for the the National Democratic Institute (NDI) in Moscow on electoral analysis and democratic training projects,  Citigroup in New York in their regulatory reporting division,  and in RUSI's Asia Programme on India and global security issues. He is a graduate of the Columbia-Cornell Summer Workshop on the Analysis of Military Operations and Strategy (SWAMOS).

He has published peer-reviewed work in academic journals, commented on international affairs for radio and television, and written for newspapers including the New York Times, Financial Times, Telegraph, Guardian, Independent, and Foreign Policy.

Further information:


RUSI articles and analysis by this author

Iran Nuclear negotiations March 2015 The Iran Deal: the 25-year Road from Vienna 16 Jul 2015
The Iranian nuclear deal agreed in Vienna may be one of the most important post-Cold War diplomatic accords. But it is important to understand how it evolves over the coming decades.

Michael Fallon 3 Should the UK bomb Daesh in Syria? 3 Jul 2015
Britain’s Defence Secretary Michael Fallon is toying with the idea of asking parliament for permission to expand Britain’s campaign of airstrikes from Iraq into Syria. His impulse should be tempered with a sense of strategy.

India - Foreign Policy - Flag Indian Defence Policy 11 May 2015
As India’s government approaches the end of its first year, has it made its mark on Indian defence policy?

Jordanian fighter jets Jordan and Isis: ‘Until We Run Out of Fuel and Bullets’? 11 Feb 2015
Jordan has made good on its pledge to strike hard at Isis for the brutal murder of its downed pilot. But what are the risks to the Kingdom, and what more can it do?

ISIS targets in Syria struck by US Tomahawk cruise missiles Striking ISIS: How Do We Know if We’re Winning? 2 Oct 2014
While official footage of air strikes against ISIS targets provide good optics, they are not a reliable in measuring the success of the broader military strategy against the group.

Jabhat al-Nusra Air Strikes in Syria: Who Benefits? 23 Sep 2014
Airstrikes are now underway against jihadists in Syria. As ISIS’ grip weakens, the United States and her allies must work quickly to ensure Assad does not fill the void.

Narendra Modi meets  Xi Jinping of China in New Delhi September 2014 Indian Foreign Ministry photo Xi and Modi: Continuity in Sino-Indian relations 18 Sep 2014
Xi Jinping has begun the first visit by a Chinese president to India for eight years, with a new prime minister in Delhi. But how do we reconcile the bonhomie in Delhi, with thousands of troops squaring off at the border?

Barack Obama White House Briefing June 2014 Assessing Obama’s ISIS strategy 11 Sep 2014
In a shift in policy, President Obama announced on 10 September 2014 cross-border operations to challenge the jihadists of ISIS. The strategy’s success rests on the cooperation of neighbouring countries and the ability to sustain the campaign for the long-term.

Tornado GR4 British Options in Iraq: Capabilities, Strategies, and Risks 13 Aug 2014
Pressure is building for the government to recall parliament over the crisis in Iraq and consider intervening alongside US forces. But what are the options for Britain, and what risks do they carry?

Kerry and foreign ministers of Turkey and Qatar thumb The Gaza War: Mission Creep and Tunnel Vision 30 Jul 2014
The war in Gaza is within touching distance of 2008–09’s Operation Cast Lead, in intensity, lethality and destructiveness. Yet expanding Israeli objectives and Hamas’ obstinacy are preventing a ceasefire.

Gaza City Gaza Diplomacy: Disjointed, Immature, and Ineffective 22 Jul 2014
In the current Israel-Palestine conflict in Gaza, with a half-brokered ceasefire already rejected, no one ideal mediator exists. It is therefore imperative is to bring together all of the would-be arbitrators in a more structured process.

Ajit Doval [thumbnail] India’s National Security Advisor: What advice will Modi receive? 29 Jun 2014
India’s new National Security Advisor is a highly respected intelligence officer, whose extensive writings show him to be a cautious hawk with a strong focus on internal security.

Barack Obama 2 Decoding Obama’s Iraq speech 20 Jun 2014
President Obama wants to contain ISIS, force Iraq to heal its sectarian divisions, and limit American exposure to the conflict. His is struggling to craft a strategy that can meet all three objectives.

Iran flag Iran and America in Iraq: a Great Rapprochement, or Hot Air? 17 Jun 2014
The crisis in Iraq appear to have united the US and Iran against the jihadists of ISIS. But claims of a historic rapprochement, let alone collaboration, are wildly overblown.

Iran Geneva talks thumbnail Iran and the Geneva Agreement: A Footnote to History or a Turning Point? 18 Mar 2014
The November 2013 Geneva Agreement is only the first step down what is likely to be a long and bumpy road

China India flag Playing Cat and Mouse? Sino–Indian Relations 15 Jan 2014
While China has tended to raise the stakes over ongoing disputes, India has sought to improve its position in the wider power play in the long term

WHR 4-13 thumb An Uncertain Future: Assessing Regional Responses to Iran's Nuclear Programme 13 Jan 2014
While the recent Geneva deal has reduced tensions with Iran, the spectre of a nuclear Islamic Republic remains on the agenda of regional policy-makers

Iran flag From Interim to Final Status: Iran, the E3+3, and the Road from Geneva 6 Dec 2013
Iran’s nuclear programme has been temporarily capped. But the details of the endgame remain shrouded in uncertainty. How do we get from here to there?

Iran nuclear The Iran Agreement in Geneva: a Limited but Valuable Breakthrough 25 Nov 2013
The Geneva Agreement is an inventive, astute piece of diplomacy that puts Iran further from nuclear weapons at low cost. But the road to a final settlement is long and rocky.

Hasan Rouhani sq Rouhani, Obama, and US-Iran Diplomacy: A Nuclear Thaw or a False Start? 1 Oct 2013
With the first signs of a US-Iran thaw, there are great hopes – and great cynicism. Yet while the optimists may be overstating the scope of any deal, the cynics are wrong to dismiss Hasan Rouhani's rhetoric.

Putin 2012 thumbnail Controlling Syria's Chemical Weapons: Why the US Should Call Putin's Bluff 12 Sep 2013
Critics accuse President Obama of walking into a Russian trap. But even partial implementation of the disarmament plan reduces the likelihood that chemical weapons are used, without foreclosing any American options.

India - Foreign Policy - Flag The Future of Indian Sea power: Navalists versus Continentalists 15 Aug 2013
This week, India unveiled major introductions to its navy. They are aimed at applying pressure to China, its chief strategic adversary, but will this be done at the expense of its border defences in the Himalayas?

Syria Report Red Lines and Syrian Chemical Weapons 26 Apr 2013
Evidence of chemical weapons use by the Syrian regime remains incomplete. But the Obama Administration’s confused signaling and ambiguous standards of evidence risk emboldening the Assad regime.

Iran Red Lines cover Briefing Paper: Iran - Red Lines and Grey Areas 25 Apr 2013
Iran may inadvertently cross unclear US and Israeli ‘red lines’ on its nuclear programme and trigger military action

North Korea Flag A Familiar Crisis: Assessing North Korea's Threats 8 Apr 2013
In the Korean peninsula, the risk of war remains much lower than is suggested by the atmosphere of crisis, but a great deal will depend on what level of escalation Pyongyang deems necessary for political and deterrent purposes.

201303 NB Joshi thumbnail Iran and the P5+1: The Long Road from Kazakhstan 8 Mar 2013
With the P5+1 offering a more generous package to Iran, what are the prospects for further diplomatic progress before the Iranian elections in June?

RUSI CREST Reviews 1 Mar 2013

201302 Jnl Joshi thumbnail Not Quite 'Zero Problems': Ankara's Troubles in Syria 1 Mar 2013
NATO's deployment of the Patriot missile-defence system to Turkey reflects how Ankara's foreign and security policy remains dependent on stronger allies

Khamenei square Khamenei, US-Iran Talks, and the Nuclear Dispute 7 Feb 2013
Ayatollah Khamenei has firmly rejected the prospect of direct US-Iran talks, but his remarks should be read in the context of Iran's fractured domestic politics. Iran's talks with the P5+1 must progress first.

Golan Israel's Attack on Syria: Will it Lead to Escalation? 1 Feb 2013
The Syrian regime has accused Israel of, as yet, unconfirmed attacks against Syrian military installations. Nevertheless, it is unlikely that such a move will trigger a retaliation or threaten a regional war.

WHP 79 Irans Nuclear trajectory 2 The Permanent Crisis: Iran's Nuclear Trajectory 13 Dec 2012
The quickening pace of Iran's nuclear activities has produced an international sense of urgency. Sanctions have intensified, while fears of an Israeli strike abound. Talks have briefly eased the tension, before failing due to fundamental differences between Iran and the West. There seem to be dim prospects for peaceful resolution; the worry is that this long-running dispute could become a permanent crisis.

WHP 79 Irans Nuclear Trajectory The Permanent Crisis: Iran's Nuclear Trajectory (WHP 79) 13 Dec 2012
The Iranian nuclear crisis risks becoming a permanent one. This paper examines possible ways out - and what a nuclear Iran might actually mean

Hamas HQ Gaza bombing A Tenuous Ceasefire in Gaza 23 Nov 2012
In the latest Gaza conflict, neither side has 'won'. The ceasefire as it stands does no more than restore a fraught status quo, one that will almost certainly crumble again in the absence of dramatic political shifts in Gaza, Israel and the West Bank.

Lebanon crisis Lebanon in Limbo: No Escaping the Syrian Gales 24 Oct 2012
The 14 October assassination of top intelligence official Wissam al-Hassan has underscored that Lebanon cannot disconnect itself from Syria. The Lebanese state will be put under severe stress in the months ahead.

Iran nuclear What is the zone of immunity? Iran, Israel and the IAEA's new report 3 Sep 2012
The IAEA's latest report shows that Iran has greatly upgraded its uranium enrichment capacity. Some argue that Iran is poised to enter a "zone of immunity". But what does this mean, and is it a useful concept?

Free Syria Army Idlib February 2012 - Photo by tinyccSyriaFreedom SYRIA CRISIS BRIEFING: A Collision Course for Intervention 25 Jul 2012
The Syrian crisis took a decisive new turn on 25 July. President Bashar al-Assad’s own future is now significantly less relevant to whatever will happen next in the country and external intervention, in some form, is now significantly more likely. In this Briefing, experts detail the risks and challenges of intervention in Syria. Our contributors delve further into the internal andexternal aspects of this conflict, offering a sobering assessment ofthe prospects for Syria and the region.

Syria Protest Terrorism and the evolution of Syria's uprising 11 May 2012
Though the perpetrators have not yet been identified, the latest terrorist attack in Syria suggests that the non-violent and insurgent strands of the uprising could both be overtaken by a campaign of indiscriminate violence.

Indian Flag 2 New Delhi's New Missile: A Watershed for India's Nuclear Arsenal 20 Apr 2012
No Indian missile has been assigned as much political significance as the newly tested Agni-V. The ripening of India's second-strike capability will provide reassurance to India about the strategic balance, and indicate the direction of its nuclear forces.

Ahmedinejad Nuclear Is a Nuclear Iran as Dangerous As We Think? 27 Feb 2012
Pessimists warn that a nuclear Iran cannot be safely contained. But these risks - irrational behaviour, nuclear safety, and further proliferation - need to be dispassionately assessed and put into context.

Khomeni Iranian Revolutionary Guard Iran and the West: Playing a Zero-Sum Game 11 Jan 2012
The killing of a nuclear scientist in Tehran may well be the latest in a line of skirmishes between Iran and its American-led adversaries. Both sides are playing a zero-game, and neither coercive actions nor more negotiations are likely to bring a durable settlement.

2012 button Aftershocks and Transitions: an Unashamedly Speculative Look at 2012 15 Dec 2011
If this year brought us an earthquake, then 2012 will be a year of aftershocks and transitions. Speculate as we might, we must still prepare for the predictable but watch for the surprises.

Tahrir Egypt Thumb The Arab Spring Redux? The Egyptian Revolution returns with a vengeance 24 Nov 2011
Egypt's army cannot be allowed to hijack the revolution, and protesters will keep the pressure on. But what does that mean for elections, just days away?

Qadhafi What Qadhafi's death means 21 Oct 2011
The death of Colonel Qadhafi rids the world of a tyrant, but it is no milestone in the Arab Spring. To focus on the departed dictator is to miss the real story, and abstract notions of 'closure' won't magically translate into stable government.

Pakistan flag A very special relationship: the US-Pakistan alliance darkens 26 Sep 2011
America's top military officer has accused Pakistan of helping to bomb a US embassy. US-Pakistan relations are about to enter a much darker phase.

Libya Rebels Accidental Heroes: Britain, France and the Libya Operation - RUSI Interim Libya Campaign Report 23 Sep 2011
23/09/11: A RUSI report looks at the diplomatic, strategic and military aspects of the recent Libya campaign.

Burhanuddin Rabbani thumbnail What Rabbani's death means for Afghanistan and the war 21 Sep 2011
Burhanuddin Rabbani has been killed. The first post-Soviet Afghan president was controversial throughout the last twenty years. His death is the latest in a series of setbacks that could pave the way to a deeper civil war.

Libya Rebels Blast Reasons to be cautiously optimistic about post-Qadhafi Libya 24 Aug 2011
Dire warnings of marauding rebels soaking Tripoli's streets with blood have simply not materialised, and are unlikely to do so. We should beware of unduly inflating the ghosts of Islamism, tribal factionalism and the chaos of Baghdad haunting the new Libya.

Varyag Troubled Waters: the Implications of China's First Aircraft Carrier 16 Aug 2011
Far from transforming Asia's naval balance, the launch of China's first aircraft carrier will only begin to expose China to the rigours of modern naval warfare. The region should respond to the strategic ripples by steering carefully between complacency and alarmism.

Syria Protest Hama Rules: the resilience of the Syrian Army 1 Aug 2011
As tanks roll into the Syrian town of Hama to crush opposition to President Assad, the international community has voiced its outrage at the ensuing human rights violations. But unlike Libya, words will not be followed up by deeds.

Mumbai The Mumbai Blasts and the Indian Mujahideen 14 Jul 2011
The three bombs that tore through Mumbai add to the city's death toll from terrorism - 700 killed since 1993. If the Indian Mujahideen (IM) is responsible, it indicates the grave threat posed by domestic Indian groups plugged into international jihadi network.

Pakistan flag Implications of the Karachi attack 23 May 2011
The co-ordinated attack on a Pakistani naval base, the latest assault on a military facility, raises deep questions about the security of the country's nuclear weapons and the endurance of Pakistan's relationship with China and the United States.

Libya Arming Rebels Libya: three scenarios and settlement 19 May 2011
Two months after intervention began, NATO's war in Libya has become an open-ended stalemate. A resolution requires compromises from each side rather than self-righteous declarations of total war. The balance of power does not permit a decisive victory for regime or rebels. A settlement must either reflect this fact, or give way to renewed fighting.

Pakistani soldiers Swat Osama bin Laden: Pakistan faces the music 4 May 2011
Even though diplomatic tension simmers between Pakistan and the United States over the death of Bin Laden, the tension may well be short-lived. Islamabad will continue its narrative of ignorance; Washington, in turn, will continue to fictionalise Pakistan's sovereignty as it reaps the fruits of Operation Geronimo.

Libya Rebels Blast Stalemate in Libya: will advisers and drones tip the balance? 23 Apr 2011
Western intervention in Libya appears to be stalling, and the coalition has responded by committing military advisers and drones. But their priority, for the time being, is to purchase coalition longevity at the price of campaign intensity.

Libya Protest Libya: A first step towards full military involvement? 20 Apr 2011
As the UK sends military officers to advise Libyan rebels, RUSI analysts assesses the merits of the latest phase in the international intervention in Libya.

Woman protesting Reflections on the Arab Revolutions: Order, Democracy and Western Policy 8 Apr 2011
As uprisings and revolutions continue apace across the Middle East, the West needs to re-evaluate its long-held approach to the region

Libya sunset The Feasible Option for Libya 14 Mar 2011
A no-fly zone is mired in political obstacles. Those states with a moral and strategic interest in forestalling a Qadhafi victory ought to step around that diplomatic morass. Assistance to the rebels - even non-lethal and non-tangible - is a feasible and effective option.

Libya Protest ARGUMENTS FOR a No Fly Zone over Libya 3 Mar 2011
As the Qadhafi regime unleashes slow-motion slaughter in Libya, a no-fly zone is the most compelling response, particularly in the face of growing demands for limited assistance from Libyans themselves. Critics of such an idea have yet to explain why the limited efficacy of NFZs means that they ought to be shunned altogether, or why a time-limited NFZ cannot be later withdrawn if proven impotent.

Egyptian flag The Fourth Wave? Democracy in Egypt 14 Feb 2011
Egypt is guaranteed neither a democratic nor a stable future, but the status quo had already failed in these respects. The transitional authorities need to sustain the democratic pressure of the uprising in order to meet the challenges ahead.

TUnisia Revolution Notes on a Revolution 31 Jan 2011
With unrest in Tunisia and Egypt increasingly being referred to as the tip of an iceberg, Western nations, and the activists themselves, should draw lessons from the past as they consider the future of an unsettled region.

Obama NSS Conference Obama and India: A Robust Relationship 24 Nov 2010
The view that Obama is stumbling over the subject of India is wrong

PR China Flag Growing Pains: The Sino-Japanese Naval Dispute in Context 21 Sep 2010
China’s recent vituperative reaction to the Japanese seizure of a trawler reflects a new and troubling assertiveness that places at risk the benign and conciliatory image it has assiduously cultivated in recent years.

Pakistan flag With allies like this: what the Wikileaks war logs say about Pakistan 28 Jul 2010
While Wikileaks’ widely-publicised military leak has turned the media spotlight onto Pakistan, the country’s involvement in Afghanistan will come as little surprise to coalition troops. The unfavourable timing of the leak, however, together with its substantial effect on public support for the war, means that Washington must act now to bring Pakistan back onto side.

Helmand Afghanistan Royal Marines The Afghan endgame: retrospect and prospect 2 Jul 2010
The sacking of General Stanley McChrystal has highlighted the widening fault-lines of the Afghanistan war. Rising casualties, weakening public resolve, faltering counterinsurgency and political stagnation have all compounded a series of errors made in the years after the initial invasion of Afghanistan. The war is being lost, and the contours of the endgame are emerging.

Indian Army India and the Four Day War 7 Apr 2010
The Indian military is caught between preparing for conventional war against neighbouring powers, Pakistan and China, and reorganising as an asymmetric deterrent against cross-border terrorism. It seems they are struggling on both counts.

Indian Army Defence Transformation in India 17 Mar 2010
With a plethora of unexpected delays and costs, India’s emergence as a major international military actor may take longer than expected

Afghanistan What does the Baradar arrest mean? 3 Mar 2010
The arrest of the Afghan Taliban leader has been heralded as a significant development in Washington's effort to disrupt the insurgency and a sign that Islamabad is abandoning the Taliban. But a closer look at the evidence demonstrates that his capture indicates neither a Pakistani break with militancy, nor an easing of the path ahead for the war in Afghanistan.

Sikh troops on US carrier India's Af-Pak Strategy 25 Feb 2010
India is playing a key role in the Afghan conflict. But its animosity with Pakistan threatens this contribution, and the US has been unable to choose a long-term partner

UAV in Iraq Droning on: the American bolt from the blue 8 Feb 2010
The latest Quadrennial Defense Review promises to increase the numbers, sophistication and use of unmanned aerial vehicles, known as drones. Their use has rendered the boundaries of the theatres of war more fluid, requiring the rapid integration of this weapon to be piloted more carefully than ever before.

Iran India flags India and Iran: A Pragmatic Alliance 26 Jan 2010
India’s traditional emphasis on foreign policy autonomy means that its deepening military and security ties with Iran should not be viewed as a surprise

Harrier lands on INS Viraat, 2007 Sixty-five thousand tonnes of ambition 10 Dec 2009
Recent reports of Indian intentions to purchase an aircraft carrier from Britain would not substantially add to India's ambitions to be a global power. However, the rumours are symbolic of India's delicate strategic balancing act as it shifts its focus to China.

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