Srinath Raghavan

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Srinath Raghavan
Born1977 (age 41–42)
OccupationSenior Fellow, Centre for Policy Research
AwardsInfosys Prize
Academic background
EducationUniversity of Madras
King's College London
Doctoral advisorLawrence Freedman
Academic work
DisciplineMilitary history and Security studies.
Notable worksWar and Peace in Modern India
1971: A Global History
India's War

Srinath Raghavan is Senior Fellow at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, specialising in contemporary and historical aspects of India’s foreign and security policies.[1] He is also a visiting Senior Research Fellow at the India Institute of the King's College London[2] and a visiting professor of international relations at the Ashoka University.[3]

Raghavan is the author of three major books dealing with India's strategic history. He is a regular commentator on foreign and strategic affairs. He is a recipient of the K. Subrahmanyam Award for Strategic Studies (2011) and the Infosys Prize for Social Sciences (2015).[3][4]


Srinath Raghavan was born in 1977. He studied in Hyderabad, Kolkata and Chennai, graduating with a bachelor's degree in Physics from the University of Madras in 1997.[5]

Raghavan joined the Indian Army in 1997 as a commissioned officer in the infantry. He worked for six years in the Rajputana Rifles, serving in Sikkim, Rajasthan and Jammu and Kashmir. He termed his "short service" in the Army as an "extended break", during which he figured out his future diection.[6]

He entered the academia in 2003, studying at King's College London on an Inlaks scholarship. He worked with Lawrence Freedman, Professor of War Studies at King's College, receiving an MA and PhD in War Studies.[2] His Ph.D. dissertation was the basis of his first book, War and Peace in Modern India.[5]

Afterwards, Raghavan worked as a lecturer in Defence studies at King's College, teaching there for three years. He currently works at the Centre for Policy Research, a policy think tank in New Delhi.[1][6]

Raghavan is a prolific writer, having published three works on strategic history of India between 2010–2016. He is working on three further books.[6] In 2015, Raghavan was chosen by India's Ministry of Defence to head a team of historians working on the official history of the Kargil War. The project was to last two years.[7] Currently, he is also a member of the National Security Advisory Board formed by the Indian Prime Minister.[2]


  • War and Peace in Modern India: A Strategic History of the Nehru Years. (Palgrave Macmillan and Permanent Black, 2010) ISBN 978-0-230-27751-9 [8]
  • 1971: A Global History of the Creation of Bangladesh. (Harvard University Press, 2013). ISBN 9780674728646 [9]
  • India's War: The Making of Modern South Asia, 1939-1945. (Penguin Books Limited, 2016) ISBN 1846145430[10]
  • The Most Dangerous Place: A History of the United States in South Asia (2018)

Srinath Raghavan's work spans historical and contemporary aspects of international relations and strategic studies. His books include War and Peace in Modern India: A Strategic History of the Nehru Years ; 1971: A Global History of the Creation of Bangladesh and most recently India's War: The Making of Modern South Asia, 1939-45. He has also edited Imperialists, Nationalists, Democrats: The Collected Essays of Sarvepalli Gopal (Permanent Black, 2013); co-edited with David Malone & C. Raja Mohan, The Oxford Handbook of Indian Foreign Policy (Oxford University Press, 2015); and co-authored with Sunil Khilnani et al., NonAlignment 2.0: A Foreign and Strategic Policy for India (Penguin, 2013). He is currently finishing a book on the United States' involvement in South Asia from the late nineteenth century to the present. He is also at work on a history of India in the long 1970s.[3]


Raghavan's first book, War and Peace in Modern India, covering the strategic history of Jawaharlal Nehru's premiership, was published as part of The Indian Century Series edited by scholars Ramachandra Guha and Sunil Khilnani. The editors stated in the book's preface that Raghavan has set a "benchmark" for the historical study of the strategic and foreign policy issues of India. He has covered the strategic crises faced by India in the first fifteen years of its independent existence, using a range of sources and analytical depth.[11] Scholar Kristina Roepstorff, in a book review, agreed that the book successfully illuminates the rationale behind the strategic choices made by Nehru in facing the major dilemmas during his tenure. It offers a "brilliant account" of the events that shaped Nehru's strategic thinking and his approach to crisis management. She assessed the book's original findings are highly relevant to the ongoing crises in the subcontinent. However, while the book contained excellent historical account, she found it to be short on "theoretical reflection". She also noted that the book covered a selection of case studies, mainly dealing with India's princely states and crises with neighbours but omitted the international dimensions further out, such as the crises dealing with Goa or Congo. She felt that further justification of the selection of cases was necessary to avert selection bias in drawing general conclusions.[12]

Shashank Joshi called the book a "commanding diplomatic history" of the Nehru years.[13] Odd Arne Westad called it "international history at its very best".[14] Scholar Jivanta Schottli called it "polished historical study",[15] and Rudra Chaudhuri said it should be considered "the single most important text on Indian strategic history".[16] Priya Chacko noted that it is meticulously researched and draws on previously untapped archival sources, such as the private papers of British officials, allowing Raghavan to circumvent the usual limitations of diplomatic history.[17]

Historian Perry Anderson finds that Srinath Raghavan is a firm apologist for India and describes his book as a hymn to Nehru's strategism.[18]


  1. ^ a b "Srinath Raghavan". Centre for Policy Research. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "Dr Srinath Raghavan". King's College London. Retrieved 4 December 2017.
  3. ^ a b c "Srinath Raghavan (Faculty Profile)". Ashoka University. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  4. ^ A conversation with historian Srinath Raghavan, Business Standard, 10 December 2015.
  5. ^ a b Infosys Laureate 2015: Srinath Raghavan, Permanent Black, 16 November 2015.
  6. ^ a b c Military intelligence, Business Standard, 17 September 2016.
  7. ^ The fear of history, The Indian Express, 27 July 2016.
  8. ^ "War and Peace in Modern India by S. Raghavan (Book description)". Palgrave Macmillan.
  9. ^ "1971: A Global History of the Creation of Bangladesh by Srinath Raghavan (Book description)". Harvard University Press. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  10. ^ "India's War: The Making of Modern South Asia, 1939-1945 by Srinath Raghavan (Book description)". Penguin UK. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  11. ^ Khilnani, Sunil; Guha, Ramachandra (2010), "Series Editor's Preface", War and Peace in Modern India, Palgrave Macmillan, p. x, ISBN 978-1-137-00737-7
  12. ^ Roepstorff, Kristina (2012), "Srinath Raghavan, War and Peace in Modern India (Book Review)" (PDF), Südasien-Chronik - South Asia Chronicle, 2, Südasien-Seminar der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, pp. 441–448, ISBN 978-3-86004-286-1
  13. ^ Joshi, Shashank (1 May 2012). "A Paradigm Trap". The Caravan.
  14. ^ Raghavan, Srinath (2010), War and Peace in Modern India, Palgrave Macmillan, Back cover, ISBN 978-1-137-00737-7
  15. ^ Schottli, Jivanta (September 2011). "War and Peace in Modern India by Srinath Raghavan (Review)". Contemporary South Asia. 19 (3): 344–345. doi:10.1080/09584935.2011.594286. ISSN 0958-4935.
  16. ^ Chaudhuri, Rudra (October 2014). "War and Peace in Modern India: A strategic history of the Nehru years by Srinath Raghavan (Review)". Cold War History. 14 (4): 705–706. doi:10.1080/14682745.2014.955690. ISSN 1468-2745.
  17. ^ Chacko, Priya (July 2011). "Srinath Raghavan, (Ranikhet: Permanent Black), 2010, pp. 359". The Indian Economic & Social History Review. 48 (2): 305–307. doi:10.1177/001946461104800211.
  18. ^ Perry Anderson (2013). The Indian Ideology. Verso. p. 85. ISBN 978-1-78168-259-3. Footnote 46: Even such a staunch apologist for New Delhi as Srinath Raghavan, a former Indian Army officer, author of a book that is a prolonged hymn to Nehru's strategic sagacity