US President Donald Trump has roped in a senior intelligence official, Robert Williams, known for his hardline approach on Pakistan in the past, as his point person for South Asia.
Trump intends to nominate Williams, who, for more than 20 years, has specialised in South Asia and Afghanistan affairs as an analyst and intelligence officer, for the important position of Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs.
The position of Assistant Secretary of South and Central Asia has been lying vacant since the beginning of this administration and it would be more than two years before he occupies this post, if confirmed by the US Senate.
Coming from the intelligence community, there is not much information about Williams in the public domain. In the strategic circle, his image is that of one with a hardline approach on Pakistan and as an individual, who recognises India's value as America's strategic partner.
Since 2017, he has served at the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) in Washington, DC, as the Associate Deputy Director for Intelligence and Directorate for Operations.
Previously, he was the National Intelligence Officer for South Asia at the National Intelligence Council and Defense Intelligence Officer for South Asia at DIA.
He has also been an adjunct associate professor at the Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service since 2017, and was previously a senior adjunct professorial lecturer at the American University's School of International Service from 2013 to 2016.
Williams earned his BA at the University of Pennsylvania in 1993 and MA at The George Washington University in 1996.
He is the recipient of numerous honours and awards, including the National Intelligence Superior Service Medal.