Talking with Tehran
Puneet takes you inside the negotiating room and intense backchannel diplomacy that produced the Iran nuclear agreement. With US-Iran tensions rising, he discusses the steps we need to take today to avoid a stark choice between war with Iran or an Iranian nuclear weapon.
Making Sense of the Middle East
With growing instability across the Middle East, Puneet draws on his 25 years of working on this volatile region at the White House, State Department and Congress, to offer unique and compelling insights on the fault lines and way forward on Iran, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Syria, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia.
A Global Partnership with India
India’s rise as a global power is one of the most consequential geo-political developments of the 21st Century. Puneet lays out a five-part strategy to build a US-India global partnership based on a forthcoming essay he has co-authored with Senator Chris Coons. He also describes his experiences as one of the highest ranking Indian-Americans in the Obama Administration.
Enhancing Cooperation between the Defense Industry and Government
As the former official who approved all US defense exports, totaling $100 Billion annually, Puneet shares valuable insights on how industry and government can be better partners to support US national security objectives.
As a leader of diverse teams which achieved extraordinary outcomes, Puneet discusses how different perspectives can provide a critical edge in national security decision-making. He also shares his personal experiences in advancing through the ranks to hold high-level positions at the White House and State Department.
Puneet Talwar has held high-level national security and foreign policy positions at the White House, State Department, and Congress during a distinguished 25-year career. He has a strong track record of solving complex problems with diplomatic, security, and political dimensions.
He now works to resolve political conflicts around the world by sharing advice on negotiations with leaders of governments and opposition groups.
From 2015 to 2018, immediately following his government career, he was the Chairman and President of Crest International, LLC, a subsidiary of an investment company with a diverse portfolio of international holdings.
Puneet was the Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs from 2014 to 2015 and expanded global security partnerships, particularly in the Middle East, India, Europe, and Southeast Asia. He also led critical efforts to train peacekeepers, clear landmines, and oversee the export of $100 Billion annually in sensitive defense exports.
At the White House, Puneet was Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Iran, Iraq, and the Gulf States at the National Security Council from 2009 to 2014. He was the principal architect of a multi-dimensional strategy for Iran and initiated the secret negotiations that produced the Iran nuclear deal. He also crafted responses to multiple crises and fast-breaking national security situations while leading one of the largest and busiest National Security Council offices.
Prior to working in the White House, Puneet was a top adviser to then-Senator Joe Biden on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for a dozen years. He developed policies on a range of high-profile issues such as the Middle East Peace Process and Iran’s nuclear program, and organized hearings before the invasion of Iraq entitled “The Decade After,” which warned of enormous post-conflict challenges.
He also served on the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff from 1999-2001, where he formulated innovative strategies for the Middle East. In the early 1990s, he was a foreign policy adviser in the House of Representatives.
Puneet holds a Master of International Affairs degree from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree from Cornell University. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a native of Washington, DC.