Milan Vaishnav

Director and Senior Fellow
South Asia Program
Vaishnav’s primary research focus is the political economy of India, and he examines issues such as corruption and governance, state capacity, distributive politics, and electoral behavior.


PhD, Political Science, Columbia University
MA, MPhil, Political Science, Columbia University
BA, International Relations, University of Pennsylvania 




Media Appearances

  • Slate September 20, 2019
    Trump and Modi’s Rodeo

    Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi held his first rally in the U.S. when he was elected in 2014, and is coming back to appear in front of 50,000 people in Houston, TX.

  • Why Do We Elect Criminals?
    Pragati November 8, 2018
    Why Do We Elect Criminals?

    One-third of Indian state and national legislators enter office with pending criminal charges. Do voters actually prefer criminal candidates?

  • When Crime Pays
    New Books Network May 9, 2018
    When Crime Pays

    Why do Indian voters knowingly vote for politicians with pending criminal proceedings against them and why do political parties recruit criminal politicians among their rank and file?

  • Trump Hosts Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the White House
    NPR June 27, 2017
    Trump Hosts Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the White House

    Trump’s unpredictable opinions on China causes concern for leaders in New Delhi. The United States and India may have reached a fork in the road, as Trump and Modi maintain conflicting visions of cooperation.

  • Cyrus Says Ep. 164:  Feat. Author Milan Vaishnav
    Audio Boom April 10, 2017
    Similarities Between Corruption in U.S. and Indian Politics

    While corrupt politicians in India undoubtedly used some level of coercion, they were also popular because they were seen as getting things done for their community.

  • Bloomberg TV India March 11, 2016
    Scaling Down Expectations From Government

    The opportune moment for Modi to create major political and economic change may have already passed.

  • Bloomberg TV India September 23, 2015
    Exclusive: Indo-U.S. Strategic Dialogue

    On the eve of Modi’s second visit to the United States, what are the outcomes of the U.S.-India Strategic and Commercial Dialogue and what is the status of the bilateral relationship?

  • Indian PM Narendra Modi
    Bloomberg TV India May 22, 2015
    Global Think Tanks on Modi’s One Year

    Rather than taking action, Modi has been much more inclined to announce new reforms, and he has been surprisingly politically risk averse.

  • Narendra Modi
    Monocle May 2, 2015
    Modi: One Year On

    Narendra Modi’s number one priority is the economy. But while he deserves some credit for improving India’s macroeconomic performance, he has been slow to enact bold reforms that could improve the business climate and the functioning of government.

  • Narendra Modi
    Diplomat January 30, 2015
    What You Need to Know About Obama's Trip to India

    President Barack Obama’s historic trip to India to serve as chief guest in the Republic Day parade has the potential to be a major turning point in India-U.S. relations.

  • Bloomberg TV India January 27, 2015
    U.S. Sees India as a Strategic Partner in APAC Region

    After a power packed long weekend for both President Obama and Prime Minister Modi, what does each country take back from this visit?

  • Indian Naval Vessel
    CNBC September 30, 2014
    India-U.S. Can Work Towards Improving Defense Tech

    Despite the hype, the Modi-Obama meet may not show results in the short term. There may be an opportunity for the two countries to cooperate on defense technology, though.

  • New Hampshire Public Radio June 2, 2014
    All Eyes On India, And Its New Prime Minister

    India is going to need to create a lot of jobs, and create a lot of economic growth, to satisfy its domestic needs.

  • Bloomberg TV May 19, 2014
    Modi’s Strategy For India’s Economy

    While Modi has a lot of good instincts when it comes to the economy, India is in a dire economic situation and Modi faces a difficult task.

  • Diplomat April 16, 2014
    India’s 2014 General Election: A Primer

    Economic growth, jobs and development, and inflation and corruption are three of the key issues concerning Indian voters as they go to the polls to vote in the general election.

  • Monocle’s Foreign Desk April 5, 2014
    The Foreign Desk: India’s Elections

    What matters to India’s 800 million voters and how will these desires manifest in the 2014 parliamentary elections?

  • Charlie Rose March 25, 2014
    Elections in India

    An inability to act on necessary reforms, coupled with massive malfeasance in government, has the potential to invigorate the Indian opposition going into the elections.

  • Bloomberg TV’s Political Capital March 14, 2014
    Myth That India’s Muslims Vote Differently

    Results from pre-election survey on the priorities of Indian voters debunk common myths about trends in Indian elections.


Areas of Expertise

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
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