Ronak D. Desai

Law and Security Fellow, International Security Program

Ronak D. Desai is is a Law and Security Fellow in New America's International Security program. Desai is a recognized scholar in the fields of law and foreign policy. He has published extensively in these arenas, focusing primarily on U.S.-India relations, diaspora politics, international security and law, sanctions enforcement, global governance, and corruption. He is a regular contributor to a host of prominent American and Indian publications.

Until recently, Desai was an attorney at an international law firm in Washington, D.C. where his practice encompassed a wide range of litigation, regulatory, and public policy matters. He also litigated in state and federal court on both the trial and appellate levels. He conducted white collar, export control, and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) investigations for individual and multinational clients around the world.

In addition to his private sector work, Desai has also worked extensively in the public sector. Over the past decade, he has garnered exhaustive experience in the legislative branch, including with several congressional committees. In 2006, Desai was involved in efforts to help secure Congressional approval for the landmark U.S.-India Civilian Nuclear Deal, which was signed into law by President George W. Bush that same year. He routinely advises members of Congress on foreign policy matters. 

Desai is an affiliate at the Belfer Center’s India and South Program at Harvard University, a member of the Aspen India Strategy Group, and a fellow at the Truman National Security Project. He serves on the board of directors of the Partnership for a Secure America and the Washington Leadership Program. He holds teaching positions at the Johns Hopkins University where he teaches a popular course on U.S. foreign policy toward South Asia. 

Desai earned his bachelors of arts degree in international studies at the Johns Hopkins University where he was elected Phi Beta Kappa. He earned joint public policy and law degrees from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and the Harvard Law School, from which he graduated magna cum laude.