Cohen co-authored his 1st book on India in 1978, when India was seen as unimportant

Stephen P. Cohen, a renowned US expert on security issues in South Asia for over 50 years, died on Sunday. Cohen, who pioneered research into strategic and defence issues related to India and Pakistan, was 83.

The news of the death of Cohen was announced by a number of strategic analysts and journalists on social media. Political scientist and author C. Christine Fair described Cohen as the "inimitable father of South Asian studies" and declared "he literally created this discipline".

Husain Haqqani, former Pakistani ambassador to the US, described Cohen as a "scholar, friend and mentor" who had studied the South Asia region for "five decades, trying always to be fair and thoughtful".

Cohen had been a figure in the media in recent decades, particularly since the nuclear tests in 1998 by India and Pakistan. He was most notably associated with the Brooking Institution think tank, which he joined after serving as a professor of political science and history at the University of Illinois.

Cohen conducted considerable research into India's strategic priorities and defence policies. In an interview to The Hindu in 2016, Cohen said he had written a paper as a graduate student in 1964-65 that argued India could consider the acquisition of nuclear weapons. In 2010, Cohen and Sunil Dasgupta wrote Arming Without Aiming: India's Military Modernisation, a book that argued that India's military priorities lacked a strategic vision. Cohen had told The Hindu in 2016 that "The larger conclusion I have about the Indian military is that India has traded operational efficiency for political control over the armed forces."

In 2016, the Brookings Institution published a collection of his works on South Asia called The South Asia Papers: A Critical Anthology of Writings.

Cohen authored, co-authored and edited over a dozen books on the theme of security in South Asia, including Shooting for a Century: The India-Pakistan Conundrum (2013) and The Future of Pakistan (2011). In 1978, Cohen co-authored his first major work on Indian foreign policy, India: Emerging Power. Cohen had said that he had written the book at a time when experts on China and Japan did not consider India as being an important nation.