Vikram J. Singh is senior advisor to the Asia Program at USIP. Singh has been a leader of innovation in public policy and global affairs at the U.S. Department of Defense, Department of State, and major non-profits. He advises USIP on all aspects of peace and stability in Asia including Afghanistan and Pakistan, Myanmar, China’s role in the region, and North Korea.

From 2014 to 2017 Singh was vice president for national security and international policy at the Center for American Progress, where he established CAP’s Asia program and launched work on nuclear security, a major task force on U.S – India relations, and a program on defending the internet as a force for democracy.

As deputy assistant secretary of Defense for South and Southeast Asia from 2012 to 2014, Singh ran negotiations to deepen U.S. defense cooperation in the region including through new access agreements with Australia, the Philippines, and Singapore. Singh was Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan at the Department of State until 2011. He developed a political-military strategy for reconciliation efforts to end the war. He represented the United States with China, India, Russia, Middle Eastern partners, the U.N., and NATO members on political, military and economic issues related to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Singh was the first defense fellow at the Center for a New American Security in 2007. He was previously the Pentagon’s first director for partnership strategy, developing and securing passage by Congress of new legal authorities for global defense cooperation. As a Presidential Management Fellow, Singh also served at U.S. Mission to the United Nations and chaired the DoD missile technology working group for the “Next Steps in the Strategic Partnership” with India.

Singh received the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Civilian Service in 2012 and the Department of State Superior Honor Award in 2006 and 2012. He is a Fellow of Columbia University and a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and Columbia University.

Publications By Vikram

Austin, Blinken Affirm U.S. Commitment to Asian Allies

Austin, Blinken Affirm U.S. Commitment to Asian Allies

Thursday, March 18, 2021

By: Patricia M. Kim; Frank Aum; Vikram J. Singh; Brian Harding

U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin are in Asia this week for their first official foreign trip. They held meetings in Japan and South Korea. Blinken returned to the United States via Alaska where he and U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan meet with their Chinese counterparts today, while Austin is in India. On March 12, President Joe Biden and the leaders of Australia, India and Japan participated in a virtual summit of the “Quad,” a strategic dialogue between the four countries aimed at ensuring an open, free and prosperous Indo-Pacific region.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global Policy; Conflict Analysis & Prevention

How to Prevent Fresh Hostilities as Afghan Peace Talks Progress

How to Prevent Fresh Hostilities as Afghan Peace Talks Progress

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

By: Meghan L. O’Sullivan; Vikram J. Singh; Johnny Walsh

Many peace processes experience at least short-term reversions to violence. Even a successful Afghan peace process will be at risk of the same, especially in the likely event that the United States and its allies continue to withdraw troops from Afghanistan. Ideally, such troop reductions would move in parallel with de-escalatory measures by the Taliban and other armed actors on the ground. A healthy dose of realism is in order, however. Though the Taliban and others in Afghanistan are unlikely to ever fully disarm or demobilize, persistent resources and attention from the United States and its allies can help prevent any regression to full-scale violence during the years of any peace agreement’s implementation.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Peace Processes

Spurred by China Rivalry, U.S., India Deepen Strategic Ties

Spurred by China Rivalry, U.S., India Deepen Strategic Ties

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

By: Vikram J. Singh

The United States and India inked on October 27 a key agreement that will help New Delhi get real-time access to American geospatial intelligence. The agreement, known as the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA), was a result of the 2+2 ministerial dialogue between U.S. and Indian defense and foreign affairs chiefs, following a trend in recent years of deepening military cooperation geared toward pushing back on China’s increasingly assertive policies in the region. This comes after a spate of skirmishes this year on the Line of Actual Control (LAC), a Sino-Indian disputed border region. USIP’s Vikram Singh looks at India’s evolving defense posture, deepening U.S.-Indian ties, and how it relates to India’s rocky relationships with China and Pakistan.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & Prevention

Prospects for Crisis Management on the China-India Border

Prospects for Crisis Management on the China-India Border

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

By: Patricia M. Kim; Vikram J. Singh

After a deadly skirmish in June and shots fired in September, Sino-Indian tensions have escalated to a level not seen in decades. Both countries’ foreign ministers recently agreed to a five-point framework to manage the situation, showing both sides want tensions to plateau rather than deteriorate further. But the Line of Actual Control (LAC) will not easily go back to a well-managed bilateral irritant—right now, it’s a dangerous flashpoint and likely to stay that way. USIP’s Vikram Singh and Patricia Kim look at the recent discussions, what’s driving the escalation, how the conflict affects the region, and what history can tell us about how it might be resolved.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & Prevention

Five Things to Know About the Afghan Peace Talks

Five Things to Know About the Afghan Peace Talks

Monday, September 14, 2020

By: Vikram J. Singh; Scott Smith; Scott Worden; Belquis Ahmadi; Johnny Walsh

The intra-Afghan negotiations that began on Saturday represent a watershed moment in the war: the first direct, official talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government. These historic talks commenced 19 years and one day after al-Qaida's 9/11 terrorist attacks drew the United States into Afghanistan's civil war. Just getting the Afghan government and the Afghan Taliban to the table is an accomplishment. The main reason the talks materialized is the U.S.-Taliban agreement signed in February of this year; that agreement delivered a timetable for the eventual withdrawal of foreign troops, which met the Taliban’s years-long precondition for opening talks with the Afghan government.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Peace Processes

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