Recognizing the great contributions of Ratan Tata in India and around the world by leading Indian industry beyond its national borders to create a global brand, emphasizing innovation as the hallmark of commercial success, contributing to U.S.-India ties, and undertaking philanthropy empathetic to people across societies, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace is establishing the Tata Chair for Strategic Affairs in recognition of Ratan N. Tata’s leadership on Carnegie’s Board of Trustees.
Senior Fellow Ashley J. Tellis, one of the most renowned experts international security, defense, and Asian strategic issues, has been appointed as its inaugural chair. Tellis previously served as a senior adviser in the U.S. State Department in Washington, at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, and on the U.S. National Security Council, where he was a special assistant to President George W. Bush and senior director for strategic planning and Southwest Asia. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.
The Tata Chair for Strategic Affairs has been established at a time when Carnegie’s evolution as a global think tank intersects with disruptive changes in world politics. The Chair’s work will focus on the pressing international security challenges of the emerging world order, especially on U.S. foreign policy in Asia and the Indian subcontinent.
“The one strategic goal of countries that must precede all others is to bring prosperity to their people,” said Tata. “This can be achieved only when nations feel secure with one another in an environment of mutual cooperation and collaboration. I hope that Carnegie’s Chair for Strategic Affairs and its inaugural holder, Ashley Tellis, will contribute to our collective thinking towards that purpose. ”
“I could not be more grateful to Ratan Tata for his generosity and partnership or touched by his personal decency and commitment to Carnegie’s mission,” said Carnegie President William J. Burns. “There is no one more deserving of the Tata Chair than Ashley Tellis—an extraordinary scholar and colleague who has made profound contributions in his field, in the public arena, and at Carnegie. And there is no more important time for institutions like Carnegie to provide ideas and initiatives to help shape a rapidly changing international landscape.”
“I am deeply honored to hold the Tata Chair,” said Tellis. “My relationship with the Tatas goes back many decades. Over thirty years ago, I was privileged to work on J.R.D. Tata’s papers for Keynote, a commemoration of his lifetime of service. I was later supported by the Tata Trusts as I embarked on my immigrant journey to the United States. To now hold the Tata Chair at Carnegie is to come full circle: I am profoundly grateful to Ratan Tata for his friendship and support over the years, and to Bill Burns and Carnegie’s Board of Trustees for giving me the opportunity to work on challenging issues of international security that are dear to my heart.”
Tellis, 55, is at present a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a Washington think-tank, and has played as an important role in the US’ engagement with India, including working on the civil nuclear agreement between the two countries.
He has served in New Delhi before as senior adviser to the US ambassador, and was also on the US National Security Council staff as special assistant to the president and a senior director for strategic planning and Southwest Asia. Ashley Tellis grew up in India and got a master’s degree from the University of Bombay before getting a PhD from the University of Chicago. He is the author of several books.
Tellis holds the Tata Chair for Strategic Affairs and is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, specializing in international security and U.S. foreign and defense policy with a special focus on Asia and the Indian subcontinent. While on assignment to the U.S. Department of State as senior adviser to the under secretary of state for political affairs, he was intimately involved in negotiating the civil nuclear agreement with India.
Previously, he was commissioned into the Foreign Service and served as senior adviser to the ambassador at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi. He also served on the U.S. National Security Council staff as special assistant to President George W. Bush and senior director for strategic planning and Southwest Asia. Prior to his government service, Tellis was senior policy analyst at the RAND Corporation and professor of policy analysis at the RAND Graduate School.
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). He is the research director of the Strategic Asia program at the National Bureau of Asian Research and co-editor of the program’s thirteen most recent annual volumes, including this year’s Strategic Asia 2016–17: Understanding Strategic Cultures in the Asia-Pacific. In addition to numerous Carnegie and RAND reports, his academic publications have appeared in many edited volumes and journals, and he is frequently called to testify before Congress.
Tellis serves on the Chief of Naval Operations Executive Panel. He is a member of several professional organizations related to defense and international studies including the Council on Foreign Relations, the International Institute of Strategic Studies, the United States Naval Institute, and the Navy League of the United States.