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Assistant Professor

Sharad Joshi
McGowan Building MG200E
(831) 647-6508

Sharad Joshi teaches courses in and researches topics related to terrorism and nuclear issues in South Asia and Southeast Asia. He first came to the Middlebury Institute as a postdoctoral fellow at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies and joined the full-time faculty at the Graduate School of International Policy and Management in 2011. His wide-ranging interests in international relations were sparked in middle and high school in India during the tumultuous years when the Cold War came to a close. He studied economics as an undergraduate and then discovered an MA program in international relations, which was the most obvious path given his burgeoning interest in the field throughout the first half of the 1990s. After his MA (and a short detour as a journalist), he moved to a PhD program in the United States focusing on terrorism and nuclear issues as part of his dissertation. At the Middlebury Institute, he also served as a research associate and interim director of the Monterey Terrorism Research and Education Program. Currently, he is affiliated as an associate fellow for international security at the Chatham House think-tank in the United Kingdom. 

Courses Taught

Courses offered in the past two years.

  • Current term
  • Upcoming term(s)

International Crisis Negotiation Exercise

Korean Peninsula Security Simulation:

Developed and facilitated by faculty and staff of the Army War College, this weekend long simulation takes the form of a strategic-level negotiation exercise at an internationally sanctioned negotiation conference. The conference has been called to re-convene the six party talks. Participants role-play members of a diplomatic mission on one of the negotiation delegations invited to the conference. The teams are charged by their governments with negotiating a solution advantageous to their national interests. Each team is mentored by a member of the university faculty, an invited regional subject matter expert, or a retired U.S. Ambassador. Exercise play is open-ended, run by the participants themselves without injects or predetermined outcomes – the situations are complex enough on their own merits to drive the exercise.

Spring 2018 - MIIS, MIIS Workshop

View in Course Catalog

Understanding the complex dynamics of global politics requires examination of a number of issues and characteristics of the international system. The key objective of this class is to provide students with the ability to approach different perspectives to any global political issue. These elements of the study of global politics include theoretical frameworks and historical trajectories, without which no global issue can be understood adequately. Other topics of discussion will include global governance, transnational global problems, and the international financial system.

The course reflects the evolving nature of international relations, a continuous process since recorded history, which included the rise of the Westphalian nation-state system. The continuous transformation now includes the rise of non-state actors as influential participants and protagonists (not necessarily always benign) in the global system; entities that include terrorist and insurgent groups, non-governmental organizations, multi-national corporations, for example.

Fall 2016 - MIIS, Spring 2017 - MIIS, Spring 2018 - MIIS

View in Course Catalog

Various parts of South-East Asia have been plagued by terrorist violence in recent decades. South-East Asia refers to the region eastward from Burma/Myanmar till the Philippines. This course studies the phenomenon of terrorism in countries of the region such as Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. Some of the groups that this course examines include – Jemaah Islamiyah, Abu Sayyaf, Moro Islamic Liberation Front – their objectives, characteristics, composition, ideologies, tactics and fund-raising. Apart from these cases, the course also examines thematic issues such as the prospect of WMD terrorism and proliferation of WMD materials, maritime terrorism and piracy, and U.S. policy on counter-terrorism in South-East Asia. We also discuss connections between groups in South-East Asia and regional and global terrorist groups elsewhere, such as Al Qaeda and the Taliban. In order to have a comprehensive picture of non-state security threats in the region, the course also examines the various insurgent movements in Myanmar. Finally, given the close security dynamics between Australia and South-East Asia, this course also looks at terrorism-related issues in Australia.

Spring 2017 - MIIS, Spring 2018 - MIIS

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In the realm of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), South Asia is one of the key regions of analysis. This course takes a comprehensive look at the role of WMD in the strategic thinking of various actors involved in the South Asian security framework. It is important to note that South Asian nuclear issues cannot be studied in isolation from other regional and global dynamics. States such as the U.S., China, and Russia are crucial players in the South Asian strategic framework. The course examines various reasons behind WMD acquisition by India and Pakistan, concentrating especially on nuclear weapons. These factors include threat perceptions, domestic imperatives and nationalistic attitudes. A key element of nuclear weapons programs is the development of effective delivery systems such as missiles and aircraft. Analysis of such programs provides an indicator of current and future strategy. In this context, both India and Pakistan have made major strides in their cruise and ballistic missile programs to make their nuclear strategy more credible. At the same time, neither side has a clearly enunciated nuclear doctrine, although attempts have been made in this direction. This is crucial in context of a reliable command and control system and for crisis stability. Another major issue covered in this course is the proliferation of WMD materials to non-state actors or aspiring nuclear states by proliferation networks connected to South Asia. Relatedly, policymakers in the region and elsewhere are also concerned with the danger of nuclear terrorism. These are some of the prominent issues concerning weapons of mass destruction in South Asia. The two sides have periodically taken steps to prevent nuclear crises situations. Apart from nuclear weapons, this seminar also examines chemical and biological weapons policy in the two countries.

Spring 2017 - MIIS

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Terrorist violence has persisted in various parts of South Asia for several decades. A variety of interconnected reasons can be assigned to this phenomenon – state sponsorship, separatist tendencies, religious and sectarian divides, and political meddling. Terrorism in South Asia is also a crucial concern because of its broader connections to extra-regional terrorist networks. The two dominant states in South Asia possess nuclear weapons and have a long history of military conflict and have periodically experienced crises situations provoked by terrorist attacks. Additionally, the history of proliferation networks and concerns over Pakistan’s nuclear security further exacerbate the threat perception from terrorist networks.

The object of this course is to understand the causes and dimensions of terrorism in South Asia and to analyze positions adopted by the involved parties, state and non-state. From the policy perspective, this is essential toward formulating responses to terrorism in the region. South Asia is conventionally defined as the region comprising the countries of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and the Maldives. But for the purposes of this seminar we will also look at developments in Afghanistan (generally considered as South-West Asia), given its crucial links to terrorism issues in South Asia.

Fall 2016 - MIIS

View in Course Catalog

Areas of Interest

Sharad Joshi’s research interests focus on several issues pertaining to terrorism, and nuclear weapons, especially in South Asia. This includes decision-making and strategies on the part of these groups, including terrorist financing, CBRN terrorism, and rivalry and cooperation amongst terrorist groups. His research on nuclear weapons in South Asia includes examining the nuclear rivalry in the subcontinent and issues related to security of nuclear weapons in Pakistan. 

Academic Degrees

  • Ph.D in International Affairs, University of Pittsburgh
  • M.A. in Politics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
  • B.A. (Honors) in Economics, University of Rajasthan, Jaipur

Professor Joshi has been teaching at the Institute since 2011.


  • "The Transnational Security Threat from D-Company," (co-authored with Phil Williams and Gretchen Peters) in Lawrence Cline & Paul Shemella (editors), The Future of Counterinsurgency (Praeger, 2015).
  • "Will Killing of Taliban Chief Make a Difference in Pakistan?" Chatham House, November 7, 2013
  • “Woolwich Attack and the Changing Nature of Terrorism,” Chatham House, May 24, 2013
  • “The China-Pakistan Nuclear Deal: A Realpolitique Fait Accompli,” Issue Brief, Nuclear Threat Initiative, December 11, 2011.
  • "Playing Politics: How the Regional Context Impedes Confronting Myanmar's Alleged Nuclear Program," Issue Brief, Nuclear Threat Initiative, February 4, 2011
  • "Cooperative Threat Reduction and Pakistan," (co-authored with Togzhan Kassenova) Issue Brief, Nuclear Threat Initiative, August 4, 2008.
  • "Is Pakistan Appeasing the Taliban?" Foreign Policy in Focus, June 13, 2008.
  • "A Ridge Too Far," Foreign Policy in Focus, November 6, 2007.