When P.V. Narasimha Rao became the unlikely prime minister of India in 1991, he inherited economic crisis, violent insurgencies, and a nation adrift. Despite numerous challenges—Rao lacked a majority in parliament and was deeply mistrusted even by leaders of his own party—he arguably reinvented India, both at home and abroad.

With exclusive access to Rao’s never-before-seen personal papers, Vinay Sitapati’s definitive biography, Half-Lion: How P.V. Narasimha Rao Transformed India, provides new revelations on the Indian economy, nuclear program, foreign policy, and domestic politics. Sitapati shared key findings from Half-Lion, which Mint wrote “has all the ingredients of a good book: well written, informative, with the rigor of a diligent researcher.” Carnegie’s Milan Vaishnav moderated.

Vinay Sitapati

Vinay Sitapati is author of Half-Lion: How P.V. Narasimha Rao Transformed India. He is also a professor at Ashoka University and writes for the Indian Express.

Milan Vaishnav

Milan Vaishnav is a senior fellow in the South Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where his primary research focus is the political economy of India.