Former White House official Ashley Tellis will likely be the next U.S. Ambassador to India, reported The Washington Post on Monday. The report quoted "transition sources" to claim that Donald Trump was "close to selecting" the Mumbai-born strategic affairs expert. According to the Post, Trump is keen on hiring top Asia hands to various ambassadorial positions in the region, signalling his keen interest in deepening ties here.
The present U.S. Ambassador to India, Richard Verma, is expected to return to America on 20 January.
Tellis, 55, is at present a senior fellow at the Washington-based think-tank Carnegie Endowment for International Peace specialising in international security, defense, and Asian strategic issues. He was born in Mumbai and did his undergraduate and postgraduate studies from the University of Bombay before doing his PhD in the University of Chicago. He has served as a senior adviser to the US Ambassador in New Delhi earlier when he was with the Foreign Service. He was also on the National Security Council staff as special assistant to the president and senior director for strategic planning and Southwest Asia.
He has taught policy analysis and authored several books on the Asia-Pacific region. He was on assignment to the U.S. Department of State as Senior Adviser to the Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs during 2005–08, when he was involved in negotiating the civil nuclear agreement with India.
In an interview with Live Mint in September, Tellis had said, "Hopefully, the US will not ever enjoy a Trump presidency."
"Trump is incredibly erratic in the way he approaches the world and that seems to be his distinctive personality trait," he had said in the interview. "He is not particularly well-informed about policy issues nor does he care to learn about them. He is not prepared for the responsibilities of the presidency and he does not care to understand the complexities of policymaking—US-India issues are probably the lowest on his list."
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