Puneet Talwar

  • Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs (2014-2015)
  • Special Assistant to President Obama, White House National Security Council (2009-2014)

Puneet Talwar has dedicated his career to finding solutions to some of the most complex global threats.  He is best known for opening the secret diplomatic channel to Iran that produced the Iran nuclear agreement.  He has been at the heart of decision-making and crisis management on the most pressing national security issues facing the United States as Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs, Special Assistant to President Obama at the White House National Security Council, and Chief Middle East advisor to then-Senator Joe Biden.  

He now helps to resolve conflicts around the world, sharing advice on negotiations with leaders of governments and opposition groups.  He offers compelling and unique insights on a range of timely topics from high-stakes international negotiations to the challenges and opportunities in the Middle East and Asia.  Moreover, he has a first-hand perspective on the value of diversity in executive leadership teams in national security.

 

Add to my speaker list
Puneet Talwar headshot
Puneet Talwar photo 3
Puneet Talwar photo 2
Rave Reviews About Puneet Talwar
Puneet’s remarks at the 2016 Opportunity Africa Conference were fantastic. We had a large audience which was captivated by his insights on the nexus of diplomacy, development, and security.

A Sample of the Groups That Have Hosted Puneet Talwar
  • Council on Foreign Relations
  • Aerospace Industries Association
  • Commonwealth Club of California
  • Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs
  • Senator Chris Coons’s Opportunity Africa Conference
  • World Affairs Council, Seattle
  • Indiaspora
  • United States-United Arab Emirates Business Council, Abu Dhabi
  • Foundation for Defense of Democracies
  • Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi
U.S. Foreign Policy Priorities | Marines Memorial Club [1:05:22] - Get Sharable Link
U.S. Foreign Policy Priorities | Marines Memorial Club [1:05:22]
(>)
Now
Playing
U.S. Foreign Policy Priorities (Excerpts) | Marine Memorial Club [3:08]
(>)
Now
Playing
Explore Puneet Talwar's Talks
Expand all >

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. ...

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 S ...

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 ...

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 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.

Diversity Works

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 an ...

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.

Learn more about Puneet Talwar
Follow   LinkedIn 
Biography

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.