Dec. 7, 2021

Congratulations to Raj Lakhan!

Winner of the 2021 Magna International Inc. Graduate Scholarship in Political Science!
Mountain lake

Magna International Inc. Graduate Scholarship in Political Science is open to students registered full-time in a thesis-based graduate program in the Department of Political Science. The award is on the recommendation of the Department of Political Science.


Raj Lakhan is working under the supervision of Dr. Gavin Cameron. Tell us a bit, Dr. Cameron, about what makes Raj’s work stand out.

Raj is writing an excellent thesis on an evolving and important area of international arms control: a potential regime to address hypersonic weapons. In doing so, he will extend the existing literature on different analogous regimes to consider the appropriateness of their application to an evolving technology. Such a project is not only important in its own right, due to the policy salience of the issue as different countries pursue hypersonic weapons, but also offers an innovative lens through which to examine the initiation and maintenance of current arms control regimes.


Raj, your own broad research interests include proliferation and arms control especially with regard to hypersonic weapons. How did you come to focus on these areas?

I first learned about hypersonic weapons when I read an article by the Arms Control Association (ACA) which got me thinking on how technological advancements are changing the nature of strategic conflicts. I was influenced in international politics by Robert D. Kaplan’s work, and Kaplan made an interesting statement on how norms on nuclear weapons have been strong, and countries are unwilling to use nuclear weapons. What has resulted is that countries are developing weapons systems, which are not considered weapons of mass destruction (WMD), but just as lethal. Currently, Russia, China, and the U.S. are leading in the development of hypersonic weapons.

Can you tell us a bit about your specific proposed thesis research?

My research is largely an exercise on international cooperation. Hypersonic weapons are very issue specific, so my research examines if international regimes can facilitate cooperation towards curbing proliferation of these weapons. The regimes I study are the principles, norms, rules and decision-making processes around a particular issue area which actors converge on, and not the negative connotation that most people associate the term regime with.

It’s still early days for your research, but what are your next steps in your program?

I am very fortunate to be in a program which produces talented scholars. My goal is to become an expert scholar, whether this may be in academia, working at a think tank, or working in civil service. I am honoured that this scholarship recognizes my hard work.


Congratulations to Raj Lakhan on your 2021 Magna International Inc. Graduate Scholarship in Political Science!

To find out more about our paper prizes and past prize winners please visit the Political Science website.