After Richard Verma, Mumbai-born Ashley J Tellis could be the US Ambassador to India to take forward Washington's 'pivot to Asia' policy, according to a newspaper in that country. The transition team of President-elect Donald Trump has told all envoys of the outgoing Barack Obama Administration to return before January 20, the Inauguration Day.
Tellis, a PhD from University of Chicago, is also a Counsellor at the National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR) and Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. His area of expertise lies in defence and security, military, foreign policy, nuclear energy and weapons and terrorism.
While the report quoted Trump's transition team on the verge of selecting Tellis, a former White House official and India expert, the man himself had been critical of Trump in the past.
Tellis is the Research Director of NBR's Strategic Asia Program and was on assignment for the US Department of State as the senior advisor to the Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs (2005–8).
He was pivotal in negotiating the civil nuclear agreement between the US and India. He has also served as a senior advisor to the Ambassador at the US Embassy in New Delhi and on the National Security Council staff as a special assistant to the president and senior director for strategic planning and Southwest Asia.
Before working for the US government, he was a senior policy analyst at the RAND Corporation and professor of Policy Analysis at the RAND Graduate School.
He has written books like India's Emerging Nuclear Posture (2001) and co-authored Interpreting China's Grand Strategy: Past, Present, and Future (2000).
He is also a member of Council on Foreign Relations, International Institute of Strategic Studies, tUnited States Naval Institute and Navy League of the United States.
Tellis said in an interview on November 10, 2016, that Trump could make his life easier by maintaining the "liberal world order" since World War II. He also said that the US has been the net beneficiary of trade since globalisation but the fruits were not shared equitably within the country.
"That is certainly a challenge that has to be addressed," he said, adding: "We need the president to rethink how he thinks about the larger questions of global integration."