Darshana M. Baruah is a fellow with the South Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace where she directs the Indian Ocean Initiative. Baruah is also currently a nonresident scholar at the Sasakawa Peace Foundation, Tokyo, where she is working on a book about the significance of the Indian Ocean in the 21st Century. Under the Initiative, Baruah convenes the annual Indo-Pacific Islands Dialogue bringing together the islands of the Indian Ocean and the Pacific to highlight and discuss issues of importance to small island nations. In her current role, Baruah conceptualized the Indian Ocean interactive map designed to convey the strategic importance of the region’s geographic features and trading routes.
Baruah’s primary research focuses on maritime security in the Indo-Pacific and the role of islands in shaping great power competition. Her work examines the impact of maritime security in foreign policy engagements, India’s naval strategy, maritime partnerships in the Indo-Pacific, and island agency in shaping great power competition. Her work also examines the strategic implications of China’s infrastructure and connectivity projects as well as trilateral partnerships in the Indo-Pacific. Baruah has spent time in think tanks in Delhi, Tokyo, Canberra, and Sydney before moving to Washington D.C. working on issues of maritime security, Indian Ocean, and the Indo-Pacific.
Previously, Baruah was the associate director and a senior research analyst at Carnegie India where she led the center’s initiative on maritime security. As the associate director, Baruah’s institutional responsibilities included coordinating and overseeing the center’s development, outreach, and institutional partnerships. While at Carnegie India, Baruah also coordinated and led various track 1.5 dialogues and seminars. Her research projects included work on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands as well as trilateral partnerships and strategic connectivity projects in the Indo-Pacific.
In 2018, Baruah was also a visiting fellow at the Japan Institute of International Affairs (JIIA) Tokyo. Prior to this, Baruah was a 2016 national parliamentary fellow at the Australian parliament and a visiting fellow at the Australian National University (Canberra) and the Lowy Institute (Sydney), where her research was centered on India-Australia maritime collaboration in the Indo-Pacific.
Baruah was awarded the programme d’invitations de personnalités d’avenir (broadly translates to “personalities of the future”) by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2018 and was also named as the UK’s next generation foreign and security policy scholar for 2017.