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US Ambassador to India Ashley Tellis? All you need to know about Mumbai-born strategic expert

Days after Richard Verma announced that he would quit as the US envoy before Donald Trump is sworn in president, speculations were rife in the Indian media that India-born strategic analyst Ashley Tellis may succeed him as the next US Ambassador to India.

The latest development comes in the backdrop of President-elect Donald Trump's diktat, asking all political appointees of the Barack Obama administration to quit their diplomatic posts before his inauguration on 20 January.

Here is what you need to know about the prospective next US envoy to New Delhi.

Born in Mumbai

The 55-year-old Tellis was born in Mumbai. Tellis completed his bachelors and masters in economics from the prestigious St Xavier's College. He later travelled to the United States for his graduate studies at the University of Chicago, where he went on to complete his PhD.

File image of Ashley Tellis. Screen grab from YouTube

File image of Ashley Tellis. Screen grab from YouTube

An early interest in International Relations

According to his friends, the prospective US envoy always showed an inclination towards international relations. Hindustan Times quoted Father Frazer Mascarenhas, the former principal of St Xavier's College as saying, " With a clear, sharp mind, Tellis always knew what he was doing right from the beginning. His thoughts about international relations and recommendations for strengthening India-US relations were firm from his college days.”

Strategic expert

Tellis is currently a Senior Fellow, South Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He specialises in international security, defense, and Asian strategic issues. The Mumbai-born analyst was previously associated with the RAND Corporation as a senior policy analyst.

Tellis is also a member of several professional organizations related to defense and international studies, including the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS), the United States Naval Institute, and the Navy League of the United States.

Government service

Tellis' profile on the Carnegie Endowment website, adds that he had previously worked for the US State department, serving as senior adviser to the ambassador at the U.S. embassy in New Delhi.

The Xavierite also served on the National Security Council staff as special assistant to the president and senior director for strategic planning and Southwest Asia.

Tellis is particularly known for his contribution to the passing of the historic India-US civilian nuclear deal in 2008.

A published author

Tellis has had a distinguished academic career, with his writing published across various reputed journals across the world. He is the author of India’s Emerging Nuclear Posture (RAND, 2001) and co-author of Interpreting China’s Grand Strategy: Past, Present, and Future (RAND, 2000).

Second Indian-American to be US Ambassador to India

If the US Congress approves his nomination as the next top diplomat to India, Tellis would, after his predecessor Richard Verma, be the second Indian-American to be the United States Ambassador to India.


Updated Date: Jan 10, 2017 12:32 PM

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