About Mohamed Zeeshan

Like many obedient Indians of his age, Mohamed Zeeshan - also called “Zee” by his friends and colleagues - entered engineering school at the age of 17, only to abandon it to follow an altogether different passion. He took to blogging in just his second year of undergraduate studies, hoping to use the internet age to broadcast his views, thoughts and opinions on a motley of issues, ranging from politics to the economy, and even the world of cricket.

Soon, that disparate range narrowed down to focused commentary and analysis of international politics and governance. While still diverse in nature, Zeeshan’s writings have largely focused on India’s role in the world, and its quest to evolve from a developing post-colonial economy to a global leader in a multipolar era. Zeeshan’s fresh insights and original takes on some of the most urgent questions of our time attracted the attention of policymakers and thinkers from around the world.

By the time he entered his final year at engineering school, Zeeshan had begun writing regular columns on foreign policy and international affairs for The Diplomat, India Today, Deccan Herald and other reputed publications based in India and elsewhere. He was invited to host a personal blog on HuffPost India, where he wrote on matters of Indian and international governance.

All of this led to Zeeshan’s eventual transition into the policy academia - and to Columbia University, where he studied international affairs and served as a Teaching Assistant on Economic Analysis. In line with his experience in and around the media, Zeeshan was appointed to serve on the Editorial Board of the prestigious Columbia Journal of International Affairs as its Digital and Online Director.

He also served briefly with the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations, New York in 2017. During his time at the Permanent Mission, Zeeshan advised in strategizing India’s successful and historic campaign for a seat in the International Court of Justice, and also conducted research on sensitive policy issues surrounding India’s quest for a seat in the United Nations Security Council. He was publicly credited by His Excellency, the Permanent Representative of India to the UN, for critical inputs in facilitating India’s victory.


Following his time in New York, Zeeshan worked as a policy consultant at Kearney, the global consulting firm, based in Dubai. In this capacity, he advised governments in the Middle East on social, economic and political reform, including strategic inputs for the 2020 G20 summit in Riyadh. He also helped draft a multilateral declaration on cybersecurity at the G20, championing common ground on a host of sensitive issues.

In February 2019, Zeeshan became a Founding Partner of the Freedom Gazette - a policy advocacy site that seeks to develop and popularise an inclusive, libertarian vision for India.

Drawing from his life and times around the world, Zeeshan wrote a book on India’s global power aspirations, titled ‘Flying Blind: India’s Quest for Global Leadership’ published by Penguin Random House. The book was released in India in January 2021 and worldwide in May 2021. Flying Blind is Zeeshan's debut book and is an honest examination of India's role in world affairs. It explores the role that foreign policy can and should play in fulfilling the dreams of India's young and aspirational population in a world full of uncertainties.

Zeeshan currently writes on South Asian affairs for The Diplomat and also hosts his own Sunday monthly column in the Deccan Herald - one of India’s leading English dailies - titled ‘The Z Factor’. Other media outlets featuring Zeeshan’s work include The Straits Times, The Sydney Morning Herald, South China Morning Post, Haaretz, The National Interest, The Print, The Wire, ABP News, India Today and The Huffington Post. Zeeshan has also been interviewed and featured by various international outlets, including The Hindu, The Times of India, Aaj Tak, HuffPost Live, BBC Radio, Voice of America, SBS Australia and others.


Aside from his keen interests in international diplomacy and governance, Zeeshan is also an avid cricket fan and a voracious reader. He was also a decorated debater through his days in high school and university, and an active member of university debate clubs. Though he rarely speaks of it today, his love for writing was sparked by Enid Blyton, whom he still regards his most favourite author - not too far ahead, perhaps, of Agatha Christie. He hopes to pen a detective novel of his own someday, inspired by the adventures of Hercule Poirot.

 

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