Vipin Narang

Vipin Narang

Associate Professor of Political Science

CV (pdf)

Nuclear; nuclear proliferation; nuclear strategy; south asia; international relations; international security.


Vipin Narang is an Associate Professor of Political Science at MIT and a member of MIT’s Security Studies Program. He received his Ph.D. from the Department of Government, Harvard University in May 2010, where he was awarded the Edward M. Chase Prize for the best dissertation in international relations. He holds a B.S. and M.S. in chemical engineering with distinction from Stanford University and an M. Phil with Distinction in international relations from Balliol College, Oxford University, where he studied on a Marshall Scholarship. He has been a fellow at Harvard University’s Olin Institute for Strategic Studies, a predoctoral fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, and a Stanton junior faculty fellow at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation. His research interests include nuclear proliferation and strategy, South Asian security, and general security studies.

His first book Nuclear Strategy in the Modern Era (Princeton University Press, 2014) on the deterrence strategies of regional nuclear powers won the 2015 ISA International Security Studies Section Best Book Award. He is currently working on his second book, Strategies of Nuclear Proliferation (Princeton University Press, under contract), which explores how states pursue nuclear weapons.  His work has been published in several journals including International Security, Journal of Conflict Resolution, The Washington Quarterly,and International Organization.


Narang's research interests include nuclear proliferation, South Asian security, quantitative conflict studies, international relations theory, and general security studies.

Recent Publications

"Strategies of Nuclear Proliferation: How States Pursue the Bomb" International Security, Vol. 41, No. 3 (Winter 2016/17), pp. 110–150. pdf

“Civil-Military Pathologies and Defeat in War: Tests Using New Data,” Journal of Conflict Resolution, forthcoming. With Caitlin Talmadge. link

"Nuclear Strategies of Emerging Nuclear Powers: North Korea and Iran," The Washington Quarterly, May 1, 2015.

Nuclear Strategy in the Modern Era: Regional Powers and International Conflict. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2014. link

“Five Myths about India’s Nuclear Posture,” The Washington Quarterly, vol. 36, no. 3 (Summer 2013). link

"Does India have what it takes to be a military player in Asia?" Foreign Policy, 25 June 2013. (with Paul Staniland). link

“What does it take to Deter? Regional Power Nuclear Postures and International Conflict,” Journal of Conflict Resolution, vol. 57, no. 3 (June 2013), pp. 478-508. pdf

"Posturing for Peace? Pakistan's Nuclear Postures and South Asian Stability," International Security, vol. 34, no. 3 (Winter 2010), pp. 38-–78.

"Who are These Belligerent Democratizers? Reassessing the Impact of Democratization on War," International Organization, vol. 63, no. 2 (April 2009), pp. 357–379. With Rebecca M. Nelson.

"Pride and Prejudice and Prithvis: Strategic Weapons Behavior in South Asia" in Scott D. Sagan, ed., Inside Nuclear South Asia (Stanford University Press, 2009), pp. 137–183.


17.418 Field Seminar in International Relations
17.426 Empirical Models in International Relations
17.955 Seminar in South Asian Security


3 Questions: Vipin Narang on the North Korea summits

Michelle English Center for International Studies

An historic April 27 summit between Moon Jae-in, president of South Korea, and Kim Jong-un, supreme leader of North Korea, has been lauded as a path to peace for the divided peninsula as well as a tipping point of the North Korean nuclear crisis. But what concrete actions should we expect from the meeting between Kim and Moon? And how will this affect the forthcoming summit between President Trump and Kim? MIT nuclear strategy expert Vipin Narang, an associate professor of political science and a member its Security Studies Program, weighs-in with his observations, underscoring that rhetoric is key.