Professor Varun Sahni, D.Phil. (Oxon)
Professor in International Politics,
Centre for International Politics, Organization and
 Disarmament (CIPOD),
School of International Studies
Jawaharlal Nehru University
New Delhi
110 067
(+91 11) 2670-4349 [work];
(+91 11) 2671-7592 [fax]


Varun Sahni is Professor in International Politics at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi and Chairperson, Centre for International Politics, Organization and Disarmament (CIPOD). He edits South Asian Survey, an international peer review journal of repute, speaks regularly (since 2006) at the National Defence College (NDC), New Delhi and has been Jury Member of the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding. An Inlaks Scholar, he wrote his doctoral dissertation on the political role of the Argentine Navy at the University of Oxford (1991). Before joining the JNU faculty in 1995, Varun Sahni was Junior Research Fellow in Politics and Junior Dean at Lincoln College, Oxford; Resident Fellow of the Rajiv Gandhi Institute for Contemporary Studies, New Delhi and Reader in Latin American Politics at Goa University. He has been visiting professor/fellow at Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, NM; Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE), Mexico City; National Defense University, Washington, DC (2003, under the Fulbright Military Academies Initiative) and the Asia Pacific College of Diplomacy, The Australian National University, Canberra (2008). From December 2008 to January 2012, he served as the 10th Vice-Chancellor of the University of Jammu.

Professor Sahni has been "Personnalité d'Avenir" at the French Foreign Ministry (1995) and was a Member of Mexico's Sistema Nacional de Investigadores (National System of Researchers) (1999-2002). He serves on the editorial boards of The Chinese Journal of International Politics (Oxford University Press), Asian Security Series, Stanford University Press, Contemporary Politics (Taylor & Francis), and International Studies Quarterly. He is Chairman of the Programme Committee of the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA), New Delhi and a Member of the FIST Advisory Board of the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India. For his 'outstanding contribution to research and teaching', he was conferred the VKRV Rao Prize in Social Sciences for 2006 by the Indian Council of Social Science Research.

Professor Sahni currently teaches a core M.A. course on "Theory of International Relations" (IS 402 N) in Monsoon Semester and two courses in Winter Semester: an M.Phil. course on "Culture, Norms and Identity in World Politics" (IO 643) and an optional M.A. course, "Great Powers in the International System" (IS 483 N). He also teaches B.A. (Hons) optional course entitled "Introduction to World Politics". He researches and writes on nuclear deterrence issues, regional security, emerging balances in the Asia-Pacific, evolving security concepts, emerging powers, international relations theory, borders, Latin American issues and, most recently, river waters. He is also interested in understanding the impact of technology in the field of education. His 102 research articles and book chapters have been published in Current History, Contemporary South Asia, South African Journal of International Affairs, Relações Internacionais (Portugal) and Journal of Latin American Studies, amongst others. He has participated in over 220 academic conferences, 90 of them held outside India, as paper presenter, session chair, organiser or discussant. A thematic selection of his most important articles (in peer reviewed journals) and book chapters (peer reviewed) are provided below:

Asian Security Architecture

“India and the Asian Security Architecture”, Current History 105 (690), April 2006, pp. 161-166.

“A Continent Becomes a Region: Future Asian Security Architectures”, in R.R. Sharma (ed.), India and Emerging Asia (New Delhi: Sage Publications, 2005), pp. 80-101.

“The Kindling Years: Balance of Power and the Role of Major Powers in Asia', in N.S. Sisodia and S. Kalyanaraman (eds.), The Future of War and Peace in Asia (New Delhi: Magnum Books, 2010), pp. 365-384.

Nuclear Deterrence

“The protean polis and strategic surprises: do changes within India affect South Asian strategic stability?” Contemporary South Asia 14 (2), June 2005, pp. 219–231.

“The Stability-Instability Paradox: A Less Than Perfect Explanation”, in E. Sridharan (ed.), The India-Pakistan Nuclear Relationship: Theories of Deterrence and International Relations (London: Routledge, 2007), pp. 185-207.

“A Dangerous Exercise: Brasstacks as Non-Nuclear Near War”, in Sumit Ganguly and S. Paul Kapur (eds.), Nuclear Proliferation in South Asia: Crisis Behavior and the Bomb (London:  Routledge, 2009), pp. 12-35.

“India and Missile Acquisition: Push and Pull Factors”, South Asian Survey 11 (2), July-December 2004, pp. 287-299.

Emerging Powers / India – Brazil – South Africa (IBSA) / BRICS

'Regional Dynamics of Emerging Powers: Power/Control or Leadership/Consent?' in E. Sridharan (ed.), International Relations Theory and South Asia: Security, Political Economy, Domestic Politics, Identities, and Images (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2011), pp. 56-107.

“Ancla flotante o plataforma de lanzamiento? Dinámica regional de los poderes emergentes”, in Juan Tokatlian (ed.), India, Brasil y Sudáfrica: El impacto de las nuevas potencias regionales (Buenos Aires: Libros del Zorzal, 2007), pp. 97-125.

Title translation: 'Drag Anchor or Launching Pad? The Regional Dynamic of Emerging Powers'

“Tangential yet tangible: IBSA in the context of India’s security concerns”, in Alcides Costa Vaz (ed.), Intermediate States, Regional Leadership and Security: India, Brazil and South Africa (Brasilia: Editora Universidade de Brasília [University of Brasilia Press], 2006), pp. 87-113.

Hegemony in International Politics

(With Kanti Bajpai), “Hegemony and Strategic Choice”, in Chandra Chari (ed.), War, Peace and Hegemony in a Globalized World: The changing balance of power in the twenty-first century (London: Routledge, 2008), pp. 93-108.

'Towards A New NATO Strategic Concept: A View from India', FES Perspective, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung International Policy Analysis, Berlin, Germany, October 2010.

Political Violence / Terrorism

(With Shamuel Tharu), “Subversion, Secession and the State in South Asia: Varieties of Violence”, in Itty Abraham, Meredith Weiss and Edward Newman (eds.), Political Violence in South and Southeast Asia (Tokyo: United Nations University Press, 2010), pp. 168-204.

“Subordinate, Subsumed and Subversive: Sub-national Actors as Referents of Security”, in Hans Günter Brauch, Úrsula Oswald Spring, Czeslaw Mesjasz, John Grin, Pál Dunay, Navnita Chadha Behera,  Béchir Chourou, Patricia Kameri-Mbote, P. H. Liotta (eds.), Globalisation and Environmental Challenges: Reconceptualizing Security in the 21st Century (Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 2008), pp. 431-437.

Border Management / Siachen

“Technology and Conflict Resolution: The Siachen Conflict”, in P. Sahadevan (ed.), Conflict and Peacemaking in South Asia (New Delhi: Lancer’s Books, 2001), pp. 236-271.

(With Samina Ahmed), “Freezing the Fighting: Military Disengagement on the Siachen Glacier”, Cooperative Monitoring Center Occasional Paper No. 1, Cooperative Monitoring Center, Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, New Mexico, March 1998.

Indian Security Policy

“The Agent-Structure Problem and India’s External Security Policy”, in Navnita Chadha Behera (ed.), International Relations in South Asia: Search for an Alternative Paradigm (New Delhi: Sage Publications, 2008), pp. 209-234.

“India’s security challenges out to 2020”, Shared Interests: Australia–India relations into the twenty-first century, ASPI Strategy, Australian Strategic Policy Institute, December 2005,  pp. 17-27.

Indian Foreign Policy / BILATERAL RELATIONS

(With Rajesh Rajagopalan), 'India and the Great Powers: Strategic Imperatives, Normative Necessities', South Asian Survey 15 (1), January-June 2008: 5-32.

'India's Foreign Policy: Key Drivers', South African Journal of International Affairs 14 (2), Winter/Spring 2007: 21-35.

'Limited Cooperation between Limited Allies: India's Strategic Programs and India-US Strategic Trade', in Sumit Ganguly, Brian Shoup and Andrew Scobell (eds.), US-Indian Strategic Cooperation into the 21st Century: More than Words (London: Routledge, 2006), pp. 173-191.

'China-India Partnership: Defining an Agenda', China Report 41 (1), January-March2008: 33-39.

'India in Afghanistan: What, Why, What If, and Why Not', in Wolfgang Danspeckgruber (ed.), Petersberg Papers on Afghanistan and the Region: Liechtenstein Colloquium Report, Volume IV (Princeton, NJ: Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination, 2009), pp. 152-156.

(With Jenelle Bonnor), 'Australia-India Reengagement: Common Security Concerns, Converging Strategic Horizons, Complementary Force Structures', Strategic Insights 11, Australian Strategic Policy Institute, Canberra, October 2004.

Indian Regional Policy / South Asia

“Change and Stasis in India’s Regional Policy: Bypassing and Surpassing South Asia”, in N. Jayaram and R.S. Deshpande (eds.), Footprints of Development and Change: Essays in Memory of Professor V.K.R.V. Rao Commemorating his Birth Centenary (New Delhi: Academic Foundation, 2008), pp. 225-255.

“India in Asia: An Emerging Power in a Proto-Region”, in Hans J. Giessmann (ed.), Security Handbook 2008: Emerging Powers in East Asia: China, Russia and India: Local Conflicts and Regional Security Building in Asia’s Northeast (Baden-Baden: Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft, 2008), pp. 138-156.

“A Índia emergente: rejeitar a região, alcançar o mundo?” Relações Internacionais 15, September 2007, pp. 21-34.

Title translation: 'Emerging India: Rejecting the Region, Grasping the Globe?'.


'Not Quite British: A Study of External Influences on the Argentine Navy', Journal of Latin American Studies 25 (3), October 1993: 489-513.

'The Military in Politics', in Leslie Bethell (ed.), The Cambridge History of Latin America Vol. XI (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), pp. 596-617.

Foreign Policy in Latin America

'Más estrategias que alianzas: las nuevas relaciones internacionales de América Latina', in Dörte Wollrad, Günther Maihold and Manfred Mols (eds.), La agenda internacional de América Latina: entre nuevas y viejas alianzas (Buenos Aires: Fundación Foro Nueva Sociedad, 2011), pp. 171-183.

Title translation: 'Strategies rather than Alliances: The New International Relations of Latin America'.

'Peripheral Realism versus Complex Interdependence: Analyzing Argentine and Mexican Foreign Policies since 1988', International Studies 38 (1), January-March 2001: 17-27.


'The Fallacies and Flaws of Area Studies in India', International Studies 46 (1&2), January & April 2009, pp. 49-68.