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PhD Students

Arzan Tarapore

Research Interests

  • Strategy
  • Military effectiveness
  • Asian security
  • Intelligence


Strategies of Stalemate: Explaining Indian Military Effectiveness, 1965-90

Why do states often fail to achieve improved political-military conditions through war, even if they achieve their planned operational objectives? In wartime, India has usually defeated its enemies on the battlefield, but rarely converted those operational successes into policy gains. My dissertation approaches this problem from both theoretical and historical avenues. I develop a theoretical framework that explains the determinants of wartime military effectiveness at the strategic level – that is, how a state converts operational effects into political outcomes. I then apply that framework in a historical analysis using three case studies: India’s wars against Pakistan in 1965 and 1971, and its intervention in Sri Lanka in 1987-90.


Primary: Dr Rudra Chaudhuri

Secondary: Dr Walter Ladwig


Arzan’s research interests lie at the intersection of military strategy and South Asian security. He is also an adjunct researcher at the RAND Corporation in Washington, DC. He previously held research positions at the East-West Center in Washington, and the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi. Arzan previously served in the Australian Defence Department, in a variety of analytic, operational, and diplomatic positions. He holds a BA (Hons 1) in political science from the University of NSW and an MSc International Relations from LSE.

Selected publications

Selected conferences/presentations

  • “Strategies of Stalemate: Explaining Indian Military Effectiveness,” paper presentation, International Security Studies Section / International Security and Arms Control annual conference, Washington, D.C. (October 2017).
  • “Lessons from the Past: 1965, 1971, and the Future of India’s Military Planning,” seminar presentation, Brookings Institution India Center (April 2017).
  • “Knowledge Gaps: Managing Uncertainty in Intelligence Assessments,” Intelligence Policy Center presentation, RAND Corporation (March 2017).
  • “India’s Changing Role in Regional Security,” roundtable presentation, International Studies Association annual meeting, Baltimore (February 2017).
  •  “Beyond Shared Interests,” Asia Pacific foreign policy and defense seminar, East-West Center in Washington (2016).
  •  “The Indirect Effects of Strategy,” paper presented at International Studies Association annual meeting, Atlanta (2016).
  • “Strategies of Stalemate,” research roundtable at the United Services Institution of India, New Delhi (2016).
  • “The Indian Way of War,” presented to Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi (2016) and Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi (2015).
  • “Indian Foreign Policy,” Discussant and assistant convenor, Kings India Institute graduate forum, London (2015).
  • “The Big Data-Security Assemblage,” Discussant, War Studies Department research seminar (2015).





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