Interpreting India

By Carnegie India

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On Interpreting India, every two weeks, we bring in voices from India and around the globe to unpack how technology, the economy, and foreign policy impact India’s relationship with the world. Interpreting India is a Carnegie India production and is hosted by Carnegie scholars. In season 2, Srinath Raghavan passes the mic to a new generation of hosts, his colleagues at Carnegie, who will explore the questions that hold the potential to alter India’s trajectory through the coming decade.

Episode Date
Analyzing the International Order with Yogendra Kumar

In this episode, Yogendra Kumar joins Deep Pal to analyze the state of the international order. The conclusion of the Cold War in 1991 heralded a new age of peace and prosperity under the leadership of Western powers. Yet, there remain several problems that plague the international system. What can be done to stem the decay of the international order and its constituent multilateral organizations? Yogendra Kumar is a former Indian ambassador. Deep Pal is a visiting fellow at the Asia Program at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.


Geopolitics in the Era of Globalisation: Mapping an Alternative Global Future  by Yogendra Kumar





Apr 29, 2021
Analyzing India's Fiscal Trends with Pinaki Chakraborty

Pinaki Chakraborty, Director NIPFP, joins Carnegie India's Suyash Rai to analyze India’s fiscal responses to the pandemic. Together, they assess how India’s fiscal policy to tackle the pandemic has fared so far. What fiscal measures may be taken to boost economic output? What are some of the prominent obstacles likely to hinder these efforts?

Further Reading: 

GST in India: Simple Tax in a Complex Federal System by Pinaki Chakraborty

State Finance Commissions: How successful have they been in Empowering Local Governments? by Pinaki Chakraborty

Many good things in Budget 2021. But wait for Modi govt to show its will, capability by Suyash Rai

Apr 16, 2021
Jonathan Dharmapalan answers: how might central bank digital currencies change the way we transact?

What would a cashless India and world look like? Jonathan Dharmapalan joins Carnegie India's Rajesh Bansal to shed light on Central Bank Digital Currencies, which are meant to act as a replacement for cash. Together, they unpack what digital currencies are, and how they could affect the way we transact. 

As founder and CEO of eCurrency, Jonathan Dharmapalan provides technology solutions to central banks to issue digital currencies. Rajesh Bansal leads Carnegie India's Tech & Society program to find ways in which digital financial technologies can be made more inclusive. 

Further Reading:

Govt can ban Bitcoin but for ‘digital rupee’ to succeed, India has to do a lot by Rajesh Bansal and Prateek Jha

Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures by Bank of International Settlements

Mar 25, 2021
Season 2 Trailer: Questions for the Next Decade

Introducing the hosts of Season 2, in the order that they appear on the trailer: Shruti Sharma, Suyash Rai, Anirudh Burman, Shibani Mehta, Rajesh Bansal, and Deep Pal.


Mar 22, 2021
Analyzing India's Agricultural Markets and Farm Laws with Mekhala Krishnamurthy

Mekhala Krishnamurthy joins Srinath Raghavan to analyze India’s agricultural sector, its markets, and the impact of the new farms laws. Can these  laws effectively tackle the main issues prevalent in India’s agrarian economy? Why have these laws stoked so much protest across certain farmer groups? And finally, how shall the agricultural landscape change once these laws are properly implemented?


Understanding and misunderstanding e-NAM by Mekhala Krishnamurthy and Shoumitro Chatterjee

Farm laws: First-Principles and the Political Economy of Agricultural Market Regulation by Mekhala Krishnamurthy and Shoumitro Chatterjee

 Why are Indian Farmers Protesting? by The Economist

Feb 11, 2021
The Biden Administration and U.S.- India Relations with Tanvi Madan

Tanvi Madan joins Srinath Raghavan to discuss the Biden administration, its composition, and how this might have an effect on U.S.-India relations. 


View: The Modi government will find a Biden presidency to be less volatile by Tanvi Madan

For Delhi, US election result is consequential in terms of how the next administration approaches China by Tanvi Madan

Transcript: Dialogues on American Foreign Policy and World Affairs: A Conversation with Former Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken by Walter Russell Mead


Jan 25, 2021
Unpacking the Naga Peace Negotiations with Sanjib Baruah

In this episode, Sanjib Baruah joins Srinath Raghavan to unpack the Naga peace negotiations and the recent setbacks. They explore the factors affecting the positions of the various stakeholders. Further, they ask—what shall happen to the peace process going forward, if the antagonism between the government and the NSCN (IM) persists?


A Pseudo Peace  by Sanjib Baruah

Question about Stakeholders in the Naga Conflict still Needs a Satisfactory Answer  by Sanjib Baruah

Confronting Constructionism: Ending India's Naga War  by Sanjib Baruah


Dec 07, 2020
Navigating State-Capital Relations with Rohit Chandra

In this episode Rohit Chandra joins Srinath Raghavan to analyze the relationship between state and capital in India. 


Seminar Issue 734: Untangling Business-State Relations in India by Rohit Chandra and Rahul Verma 

Big potential, big risks? Indian capitalism, economic reform and populism in the BJP era by Rohit Chandra and Michael Walton

Winner takes all: Big fish swallow the small ones amid demand slowdown by Krishna Kant



Nov 19, 2020
Assessing India's Inflation Targeting Regime with Radhika Pandey

Radhika Pandey joins Srinath Raghavan to analyze India's inflation targeting system. They assess how the system has fared since 2015, particularly in the wake of the pandemic. 


Moving to Inflation Targeting  by Ila Patnaik and Radhika Pandey. 

Higher Inflation Doesn't Mean RBI's Monetary Policy Committee Should Increase Interest Rates by Ila Patnaik and Radhika Pandey

Inflation Targeting in India: An Interim Assessment by Barry Eichengreen, Poonam Gupta, Rishabh Choudhary


Nov 05, 2020
Analyzing the Afghan Peace Negotiations with Anatol Lieven and Rudra Chaudhuri

Anatol Lieven and Rudra Chaudhuri join Srinath Raghavan to analyze the implications of the recent intra-Afghan negotiations. Are the negotiating parties well-poised towards building a peace deal? How has South Asia been involved in this arduous process? And finally, what are the prospects of talks leading to a successful peace deal in Afghanistan?  


  Dealing With the Taliban: India’s Strategy in Afghanistan After U.S. Withdrawal by Rudra Chaudhuri and Shreyas Shende.

  It's Time to Trust the Taliban by Anatol Lieven.

  Afghanistan, Then and Now by Anatol Lieven.

  Taliban Perspectives on Reconciliation by  Anatol Lieven, Rudra Chaudhuri, Michael Semple, Theo Farrell.



Oct 23, 2020
Revisiting the LAC with Sushant Singh

In this episode Sushant Singh joins Srinath Raghavan to discuss the latest developments in the Sino-Indian border conflict along the LAC. They analyse the current military positions of both sides and the prospects of conflict. 

What Rajnath Left Out: PLA Blocks Access to 900 Sq Km of Indian Territory in Depsang by Sushant Singh

Can India Transcend its Two-Front Challenge? by Sushant Singh

LAC Rivers in Spate, Army Prepares for October when Weather Improves by Sushant Singh




Oct 08, 2020
India's Remittance Economy with S. Irudaya Rajan

Srinath Raghavan is joined by Professor Irudaya Rajan as they discuss India's remittance economy. They analyze the coronavirus pandemic's impact on remittance income from a national and regional perspective and try to chart the  future of this institution in a post-pandemic world. 


 Emigration and Remittances: New Evidences from the Kerala Migration Survey 2018  by S. Irudaya Rajan & K.C. Zachariah

What is the Future of Migration from Kerala by S. Irudaya Rajan 

Gulf revisited: Economic consequences of emigration from Kerala, emigration and unemployment  S. Irudaya Rajan & K.C. Zachariah 

Sep 24, 2020
Understanding India's Migrant Crisis with Chinmay Tumbe

Chinmay Tumbe joins Srinath Raghavan as they discuss  India’s migrant crisis.  They assess its implications on India's domestic and urban labor markets, and what the crisis holds for India's long-standing traditions of internal migration.  


Migration persistence across twentieth century India by Chinmay Tumbe 

Missing men, migration and labour markets: evidence from India  by Chinmay Tumbe 

 India Moving: A History of Migration by Chinmay Tumbe,  

Sep 10, 2020
Unpacking India's Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code with Bhargavi Zaveri

In this episode, Srinath Raghavan speaks to Bhargavi Zaveri as they unpack India's Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC). They examine how India's existing regulatory framework might fare for bankruptcies in the context of the coronavirus pandemic. 


Covid-19: Making A Bankruptcy Law Work In A Pandemic by Bhargavi Zaveri and Harsh Vardhan BloombergQuint, 24th April 2020.

Covid-19 Impact: A Relief Strategy For Distressed Businesses Seeking IBC Restructuring, by Bhargavi Zaveri and Harsh Vardhan BloombergQuint, 2nd May 2020.

IBC: Unknot The Bankruptcy Law, Don’t Suspend It, by Bhargavi Zaveri and Harsh Vardhan BloombergQuint, 14th May 2020. 

Loan Moratorium: Supreme Court Asks Government To Consider Waiving ‘Interest On Interest’ by Arpan Chaturvedi 



Aug 27, 2020
Decoding India's Defense Sector with Anit Mukherjee

Srinath Raghavan is joined by Anit Mukherjee as they discuss India's defense sector. In their conversation, they explore some of the underlying problems plaguing India's defence institutions and the extent to which the government’s recent reforms address these issues.


Facing Future Challenges: Defence Reform in India by Anit Mukherjee

Fighting Separately: Jointness and Civil-Military Relations in India  by Anit Mukherjee

The Absent Dialogue by Anit Mukherjee

Aug 13, 2020
Understanding Indo-Nepal Relations with Constantino Xavier

Srinath Raghavan is joined by Constantino Xavier as they discuss the relationship between India and Nepal. In doing so, they contextualize the recent border tensions that erupted at the Indo-Nepalese border in May 2020.   


Interpreting the India-Nepal Border Dispute by Constantino Xavier

How Nepal and India can Keep Their Relationship Special by Constantino Xavier

Jul 29, 2020
Covid-19 and India's Macroeconomy with Pranjul Bhandari

Four months after the first lockdown, Srinath Raghavan is joined by Pranjul Bhandari as they assess how India's macroeconomic responses have aged through the pandemic. 


A case of wilful spenders turning into forced savers by Pranjul Bhandari

Will today's economic scratch leave a scar? by Pranjul Bhandari

The art of winning trade deals post the pandemic by Pranjul Bhandari

Jul 20, 2020
Understanding the Line of Actual Control with Shyam Saran

Srinath Raghavan is joined by Shyam Saran as they discuss the Line of Actual Control (LAC) on the Sino-Indian border. They look at the way in which the LAC impacts, and is impacted by the relationship between New Delhi and Beijing. 


How India Sees the World: Kautilya to the 21st Century by Shyam Saran 

As the LAC heats up, reading China’s playbook by Shyam Saran 

A Clash in the eastern Ladakh by Shyam Saran 


Jul 02, 2020
Assessing the Sino-Indian Border Confrontation

Srinath Raghavan is joined by Ashley J. Tellis as they discuss the origins and nature of the current Sino-Indian border confrontation. They situate the crisis in the context of broader geopolitical developments and assess its impact on Sino-Indian ties. 


Hustling in the Himalayas: The Sino-Indian Border Confrontation  by Ashley J. Tellis  

United States Strategic Approach to the People’s Republic of China by The White House, United States of America

Jun 17, 2020
Assessing India's COVID-19 Response With K. Sujatha Rao

To help take stock of India's pandemic strategy, Srinath Raghavan speaks to K. Sujatha Rao. They discuss the impact of India's nationwide lockdown, center-state public health relations, and the way forward. 


  1. Do We Care? India's Public Health System by K. Sujatha Rao
  2. 2nd Joint Statement on the COVID-19 Pandemic in India by the Indian Public Health Association (IPHA), Indian Association of Preventive and Social Medicine (IAPSM) & Indian Association of Epidemiologists 
  3. Members of PM's COVID-19 Task Force Say Lockdown Failed Due to Unscientific Implementation by Vidya Krishnan and Aathira Konikkara
Jun 11, 2020
India's Agrarian Economy and COVID-19 with Himanshu

Srinath Raghavan and Himanshu discuss the state of India’s agrarian economy, agricultural reforms, and the impact of coronavirus on this crucial sector. 


  1. Hardly the 1991 moment for agriculture by Himanshu 
  2. Reducing farm distress during a pandemic by Himanshu
  3. How Lives Change: Palanpur, India, and Development Economics by Himanshu, Peter Lanjouw, and Nicholar Stern
Jun 04, 2020
China's Path to Economic Recovery Post-Coronavirus with Michael Pettis

Srinath Raghavan is joined by Michael Pettis as they discuss the various facets of the Chinese economy and Beijing’s attempts to set itself on the path to economic recovery post-coronavirus.  


  1. Why Higher U.S. Savings Won't Save the Pandemic-Hit Economy by Michael Pettis
  2. Why a Savings Glut Does Not Increase Savings by Michael Pettis
  3. China Financial Markets by Michael Pettis


May 28, 2020
Coronavirus and the Indian Labor and Household Sectors with Mahesh Vyas

As India enters week 8 of its lockdown, the country's economy has reached a grinding halt. To better understand the impact of the pandemic – especially on the labor and household sectors– Srinath Raghavan speaks to Mahesh Vyas about the long-term repercussions of the lockdown on the Indian economy.



  1. A Third Shock by Mahesh Vyas 
  2. Sharp Slowdown in Project Completions by Mahesh Vyas
  3. How are Indian Households coping under the COVID-19 Lockdown? 8 Key Findings by Marianne Bertrand, Kaushik Krishnan, and Heather Schofield
May 20, 2020
The Indian Police and State Capacity with Maja Daruwala

Srinath Raghavan speaks to Maja Daruwala, chief editor of the India Justice Report—a first-of-its-kind study— which assesses the state capacity of India’s police force and identifies key areas where reforms are most urgent. The report also focuses on the other three pillars of justice in India, which are the judiciary, prisons and legal aid. 


  1. India Justice Report 2019 by the Tata Trusts
May 14, 2020
Coronavirus and India's Triple Crisis with Reetika Khera

Srinath Raghavan and Reetika Khera discuss the impact of India's "triple crisis" - health, economic, and humanitarian crises - stemming from the rampant coronavirus pandemic, and the way forward for India. 


1. Covid-19: What can be done immediately to help the vulnerable population by Reetika Khera

2. Viable solutions to PDS portability are being ignored in the push for Aadhar by Reetika Khera

3. Cash Flow is Flawed. Use "Odisha Model" Instead by Reetika Khera

4. From Apathy to Action by Reetika Khera


May 07, 2020
Future of US-China Relations Post-Coronavirus with Evan A. Feigenbaum

Srinath Raghavan is  joined by Evan Feigenbaum to discuss how the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the geopolitical and economic competition between the US and China and their prospects for cooperation. 


  1. A Tale of Two Asias by Evan A. Feigenbaum and Robert A. Manning
Apr 23, 2020
Learning from China’s Coronavirus Experience with Ananth Krishnan

Srinath Raghavan is joined by Ananth Krishnan to discuss the trajectory of COVID19 in China, Beijing’s strategy to contain the virus, and the lessons India can learn from China in its own fight against the pandemic. 


  1. India to get 15 million PPE kits from China by Ananth Krishnan
Apr 16, 2020
Data privacy and Pandemics with Anirudh Burman

Srinath Raghavan is joined by Anirudh Burman as they discuss how different countries are leveraging data in their fight against COVID19, India’s approach, and what privacy means in a world engulfed by a pandemic.


  1. Will India's Proposed Data Protection Law Protect Privacy and Promote Growth? by Anirudh Burman
  2. What is India's Sweeping Personal Dat Protection Bill? by Anirudh Burman and Suyash Rai
Apr 09, 2020
Globalization in the Age of Coronavirus with Rudra Chaudhuri

Rudra Chaudhuri joins Srinath Raghavan as they talk about the global nature of the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on world politics. 


  1. India Leans Into Its Fight Against the Coronavirus by Rudra Chaudhuri 
Apr 02, 2020
The Economic Impact of COVID-19 with Suyash Rai

Srinath Raghavan and Suyash Rai discuss the grave social and economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic on financial markets and its consequences for India.


  1. While Fighting COVID-19, India Must Reduce Bankruptcies, Bring Cash Transfers and Tax Reliefs by Suyash Rai
  2. Video: Carnegie Insights: Suyash Rai on the Coronavirus and the Indian Economy 
Mar 26, 2020
Analyzing India's Union Budget 2020

Guest host, Anirudh Burman and Suyash Rai analyze the impact and implications of the Union Budget 2020 on the Indian economic landscape. 


  1. Union Budget 2020 by the Ministry of Finance, Government of India
  2. Backstage: The Story Behind India's High Growth Years by Monetk Singh Ahluwalia
Feb 27, 2020
The Dynamic India-US-China relationship with Tanvi Madan

Tanvi Madan, in conversation with Srinath Raghavan, discusses the dynamic India-US-China trilateral relationship and how China shaped India-US relations during the Cold War.


  1. Fateful Triangle: How China Shaped US-India relations during the Cold War by Tanvi Madan
  2. The Future of American's Contest With China by Evan Osnos
  3. How American Foreign Policy got China Wrong by Kurt Campbell and Ely Ratner
  4. What Went Wrong? US-China Relations from Tiananmen to Trump by James B. Steinberg 
  5. New Delhi Remains Washington's Best Hope in Asia by Robert D. Blackwill and Ashley J. Tellis
Feb 06, 2020
Balancing the Innovation and Regulation of Fintech with Sopnendu Mohanty and Philip Von Restorff

Srinath Raghavan speaks to Sopnendu Mohanty and Philip Von Restorff about the emerging fintech space and the suitable regulatory and policy approaches to it. 


1. Bank of International Settlements

2. The Third Pillar: How Markets and the State leave the Community Behind by Raghuram Rajan

Jan 23, 2020
Applications and Ethics of AI with Chinmayi Arun and Matt Sheehan

Chinmayi Arun and Matt Sheehan breakdown the applications of AI and the ethical debates surrounding its use.


  1. The Transpacific Experiment: How China and California Collaborate and Compete for Our Future by Matt Sheehan
  2. ChinaAI newsletter by Jeff Ding
  3. Podcast: Tech Buzz China by Pandaily 
  4. Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World by Meredith Broussard
  5. Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism by Safiya Noble
Jan 09, 2020
The Geopolitics of Data with François Godement and Ralf Sauer

In a special episode recorded at the Global Technology Summit 2019, guest host, Rudra Chaudhuri speaks to François Godement and Ralf Sauer about the global debates on issues of data privacy and data protection, EU's approach to data sovereignty, and the implications of India's personal data protection bill.


  1. Digital Privacy: How Can We Win the Battle? by François Godement
  2. Will a GDPR-Style Data Protection Law Work for India? by Anirudh Burman
  3. The era of data globalism is over. Where does this leave India? by Rudra Chaudhuri
Dec 19, 2019
Data Protection in India with Anirudh Burman

Anirudh Burman and Srinath Raghavan discuss the implications of India's draft personal data protection bill. 


  1. AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley and the New World Order by Kai-Fu Lee
  2. A Free and Fair Digital Economy: Protecting Privacy, Empowering Indians by the Committee of Experts under the Chairmanship of Justice B.N. Srikrishna 
Dec 05, 2019
Diplomacy in a Disordered World with William J. Burns

Srinath Raghavan and William J. Burns highlight the importance of diplomacy in an increasingly tumultuous world and evolving India-US relations.


  1. The Back Channel: A Memoir of American Diplomacy and the Case for Its Renewal by William J. Burns
  2. The Most Dangerous Place: A History of the United States in South Asia by Srinath Raghavan
  3. George F. Kennan: An American Life by John Lewis Gaddis
  4. The Naked Diplomat: Understanding Power and Politics in the Digital Age by Tom Fletcher 


Nov 21, 2019
Demystifying India's Financial Sector with Suyash Rai

Suyash Rai, in conversation with Srinath Raghavan, provides a comprehensive analysis of the opportunities and challenges for India's financial sector.


  1. Unelected Power by Paul Tucker
  2. Regulation in India: Banking by Suyash Rai
Nov 07, 2019
Understanding the RCEP with Rajat Kathuria

Rajat Kathuria and Srinath Raghavan analyze the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and India's approach to the multilateral organization. 


  1. In Defense of Globalization by Jagdish Bhagwati 
  2. Peddling Prosperity by Paul Krugman
Oct 24, 2019
Shaping Space Diplomacy with Rajeswari P. Rajagopalan

Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan and Srinath Raghavan discuss areas for competition, cooperation, and governance in the space domain.


  1. Space Policy 2.0: Commerce, Policy, Security, and Governance edited by Rajeswari P. Rajagopalan and Narayan Prasad Nagendra
  2. Space Warfare in the 21st Century: Arming the Heavens by Jordan Joseph Freese
  3. The Politics of Space Security: Strategic Restraint and the Pursuit of National Interests by James Clay Moltz
Oct 10, 2019
Decoding the India-China Relationship with Shivshankar Menon

As India and China mark 70 years of diplomatic ties, Srinath Raghavan speaks to Shivshankar Menon about the shared history, culture, and future of the bilateral relationship between the two neighbors.


  1. Choices: Inside the Making of India's Foreign Policy by Shivshankar Menon
  2. Over the Horizon: Time, Uncertainty, and the Rise of Great Powers by David M. Edelstein
  3. Leadership and the Rise of Great Powers by Yan Xuetong
Sep 26, 2019
Unpacking the Economy with Indira Rajaraman

Srinath Raghavan and Indira Rajaraman discuss India's 2019-2020 Union Budget, the ongoing U.S.-China trade war, and the slowing global economy.


  1. Union Budget 2019-2020, Ministry of Finance, Government of India
  2. Of Counsel by Arvind Subramanian
Sep 12, 2019
A Nuclear World with Vipin Narang

 Vipin Narang  joins  Srinath Raghavan sits to discuss India's evolving nuclear strategy and the impact of nuclear weapons around the world.


  1. Nuclear Strategy in the Modern Era: Regional Powers and International Conflict by Vipin Narang
  2. India's Counterforce Temptations: Strategic Dilemmas, Doctrine, and Capabilities by Christopher Clary and Vipin Narang
  3. Stopping the Bomb: The Sources and Effectiveness of US Nonproliferation Policy by Nicholas L. Miller
  4. The 2020 Commission Report on the North Korean Nuclear Attacks Against the United States by Jeffrey Lewis
Aug 29, 2019
Technology and Society with Nandan Nilekani

Srinath Raghavan sits down with Nandan Nilekani to discuss the future of globalization, data empowerment, and the role of technology on society in India and around the world.

Books Referenced:

  1. Imagining India: The Idea of a Renewed Nation by Nandan Nilekani
  2. Rebooting India: Realizing a Billion Aspirations by Nandan Nilekani and Viral Shah
  3. Capitalism in America by Alan Greenspan and Adrian Wooldridge
Aug 15, 2019
Trailer: Episode 1

Interpreting India debuts August 15. For the inaugural episode, Srinath Raghavan talks to Nandan Nilekani about the economy, data privacy, and India's role in an increasingly globalized world.

Aug 13, 2019