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Biography

A historian of South Asia and contemporary international relations, I joined King’s College London in early 2016, after a Research Fellowship at Emmanuel College, Cambridge and a visiting fellowship at the Graduate Institute, Geneva. My work focuses on the impact of decolonization in South Asia as we know it today, particularly in terms of international politics.

I’m particularly interested in the connections between state-/nation-building and geopolitics, notably in border spaces like the Himalayas and the Indian Ocean. I hold the 2012 the British Association for South Asian Studies annual prize, Cambridge University’s Prince Consort Prize and Seeley Medal 2014 and a British Academy Rising Star Award 2018.

Research interests & PhD supervision

  • Inter-national and trans-national relations in the post-colonial world
  • South Asia and the Indian Ocean
  • Frontiers, borders and borderlands
  • Decolonisation
  • State-making and nation-building
  • Maritime spaces

I have written extensively on Sino-Indian relations and on the strategic borderlands between India, India, Tibet and Burma, most notably in my book Shadow States: India, China and the Himalayas (CUP 2016; awarded the James Fischer Prize 2018 for the best book on Nepal & the Himalayas).

My current research is taking me in two directions. First, I’m currently working on post-colonial India’s practice and imagination of diplomacy and on South Asia and the international order. My second project explore the geopolitics of the Indian Ocean since 1945, at the intersection of the Cold War, decolonization, and the transformation of the ocean into a resource and sovereignty frontier.

I welcome applications from potential PhD students on projects concerning the international history of South Asia, and on north-eastern India and the Himalayas.

For more details, please see my full research profile.

Expertise and public engagement

I regularly contribute to debates on the politics and history of modern South Asia, as well as strategic foresight discussions on the region. I intervene in the international press and online media, but also in policy circles, public history events, and cultural institutions from Delhi to Brussels.

I am the founder of NIHSA (New International Histories of South Asia), a research and public engagement platform that works to inform understandings and decision-making on South Asia by intervening into public/policy debates with historically grounded analysis on the subcontinent.

Selected publications 

  • “Tangled lands: Burma and India’s unfinished separation, 1937-1948”, in The Journal of Asian Studies (2020).
  • “The Indian Ocean after 1945”. In Indian Ocean Current: Six Artistic Narratives​, ed. Prasannan Parthasarathi (Boston: McMullen Museum of Art, 2020). 5,487 words.
  • “The fear of being compared: State-shadowing in the Himalayas, 1910–62”, in Political Geography 75 (November 2019).
  • “Tour diaries and itinerant governance in the eastern Himalayas, ca.1909-1962”, in The Historical Journal 60:4 (2017), 1023-1046
  • Shadow States: India, China and the Himalayas, 1910-1962 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016).