Ashley J. Tellis

Senior Associate
South Asia Program
Tellis is a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace specializing in international security, defense, and Asian strategic issues.


PhD, MA, University of Chicago
MA, BA, University of Bombay 

Contact Information


Ashley J. Tellis is a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace specializing in international security, defense, and Asian strategic issues. 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 National Security Council staff as special assistant to the president 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 eleven most recent annual volumes, including this year’s Strategic Asia 2014–15: U.S. Alliances and Partnerships at the Center of Global Power. 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 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.

  • Shanghai Cooperation Organization meeting
    National Bureau of Asian Research December 2, 2014
    Strategic Asia 2014-15: U.S. Alliances and Partnerships at the Center of Global Power

    This book analyzes the structure and impact of U.S. relations with Pacific countries on regional stability, both bilaterally and multilaterally.

  • Carnegie Endowment for International Peace June 9, 2014
    Getting India Back on Track: An Action Agenda for Reform

    A playbook for how Indian policymakers can return the country to a path of high and sustained economic growth.

  • National Bureau of Asian Research October 2, 2013
    Strategic Asia 2013-14: Asia in the Second Nuclear Age

    It is important to understand the role of nuclear weapons in the grand strategies of key Asian states and the impact of these capabilities—both established and latent—on regional and international stability.

  • National Bureau of Asian Research October 26, 2012
    Strategic Asia 2012-13: China's Military Challenge

    This book examines what China's military rise means for the region and the world, looking at China’s strategic aims and the challenges and opportunities facing the United States.

  • The National Bureau of Asian Research September 14, 2011
    Strategic Asia 2011-2012: Asia Responds to Its Rising Powers - China and India

    Asian states are adopting new strategies to preserve their national interests, prompted by the rising power of India and China. These strategies have implications for U.S. interests and leadership in the Asia-Pacific.

  • The National Bureau of Asian Research September 29, 2010 中文
    Strategic Asia 2010-11: Asia's Rising Power and America's Continued Purpose

    This volume provides an integrated perspective on the major issues that influence stability in Strategic Asia. Leading experts examine Asia’s performance in nine key functional areas to provide a continent-wide net assessment of the core trends and issues affecting the region.

  • Strategic Asia 2009-10 Book Cover
    The National Bureau of Asian Research September 18, 2009
    Strategic Asia 2009-10: Economic Meltdown and Geopolitical Stability

    This volume analyzes the impact of the current global economic crisis on key Asian states and explores the strategic implications for the United States.

  • The Rise of China
    Encounter Books May 29, 2009
    The Rise of China: Essays on the Future Competition

    Chinese leaders view the international community as fundamentally defined by antagonism; an outlook that is unlikely to change until and unless the regime changes.

  • The National Bureau of Asian Research September 24, 2008
    Strategic Asia 2008-09: Challenges and Choices

    This volume looks at the major strategic choices facing the U.S. policy community and, through a combination of country, regional, and topical studies, analyzes the impact of U.S. policy and geopolitical developments on Asia’s transformation over the past eight years.

  • Strategic Asia 2007-08 Book Cover
    The National Bureau of Asian Research October 22, 2007
    Strategic Asia 2007-08: Domestic Political Change and Grand Strategy

    Edited by Ashley Tellis, with contributions by leading Asia specialists including Frederic Grare of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, this book, the seventh in NBR's strategic Asia series, examines the varied political transitions and internal changes occurring in pivotal Asian states and evaluates the impact on Asian foriegn policymaking and strategy.

  • Indian Statue
    NPR March 13, 2015
    India’s Prime Minister Makes A Swing Through Indian Ocean Nations

    Narendra Modi aims to deepen India’s strategic footprint. Meanwhile, China has been investing in the islands, raising concern in New Delhi that India is being challenged in its own backyard.

  • Background Briefing with Ian Masters January 28, 2015
    The Obama/ Modi Summit

    President Obama was the first American head of state to watch India’s Republic Day parade.

  • NPR’s Diane Rehm Show May 19, 2014
    India’s Election: Implications for the Country’s Future and the World Economy

    Narendra Modi will be sworn in this week as India’s new prime minister. His new government will face a number of critical challenges.

  • CNBC TV 18’s Think India Foundation April 21, 2014
    India Back on Track: An Agenda for Reform

    India has to make some hard choices in order to sustain growth over the long term. In making those choices, there is an important role for the state, but the state cannot be prioritized to the neglect of markets.

  • NPR's Talk of the Nation November 29, 2012
    Learning from the Cold War, Avoiding the Next One

    The global order has changed since the end of the Cold War, and with more nuclear-armed states than ever, it is time to adapt old tenets of nuclear deterrence for the 21st century.

  • Background Briefing with Ian Masters October 4, 2011
    India and Afghanistan's Strategic Agreement

    India and Afghanistan's new strategic security agreement may be aimed at persuading Pakistan to stop supporting forces fighting the Afghan government, but it not likely to be a precursor to Indian troops on Afghan soil.

  • Ashley J. Tellis
    C-SPAN November 24, 2009
    U.S. and India: Singh's Visit

    Prime Minister Singh's visit to Washington this week heralds a commitment to strengthening the relationship between India and the United States.

  • Ashley J. Tellis
    KUOW Puget Sound Public Radio November 16, 2009
    The Asia Questions

    The global economic crisis, the growing instability in Pakistan, and the Afghanistan War present several challenges to U.S. foreign policy in Asia.

  • C-SPAN's Washington Journal December 13, 2008
    Investigations into Mumbai

    The civilian government in Pakistan faces hard choices in its response to the Mumbai attacks. Action against the groups responsible for the violence will overturn traditional strategy that considers these groups national security ‘assets’ against India. There is also the danger of opening up another battle front for an army already conducting counter-terrorism operations on its western border.

  • December 4, 2008
    Origins of Mumbai Attacks

    The objective of Lashkar-e-Taiba, the group which carried out the Mumbai attacks, is global jihad. They are second only to al-Qaeda as a terrorist group of global reach.

  • March 12, 2015 Washington, DC
    Does India’s Budget Deliver?

    India’s latest budget has generated huge interest in its ability to set the country on a path of sustained and rapid growth.

  • February 24, 2015 Washington, DC
    The Military and Indian Democracy Since Independence

    Unlike in neighboring Pakistan, India’s army has not intervened in politics and the country has successfully preserved its democracy.

  • February 5, 2015 Washington, DC
    Overcoming the U.S.-India Divide

    President Barack Obama’s visit to India for Republic Day on January 26 carries the hope that Washington and New Delhi will establish a firm foundation for cooperation.

  • September 9, 2014 Washington, DC 中文
    Senator John McCain on Strengthening U.S.-India Relations

    Senator John McCain recently visited India and was the first high-level U.S. government official to meet with Prime Minister Modi.

  • September 4, 2014 Washington, DC
    Fighting to the End: The Pakistan Army’s Way of War

    Pakistan’s army has locked the country in an enduring rivalry with India to revise the maps in Kashmir and to resist India’s slow but inevitable rise. To prosecute these dangerous policies, the army employs non-state actors under the security of its ever-expanding nuclear umbrella.

  • June 25, 2014 Washington, DC
    Book Launch of Getting India Back on Track: An Action Agenda for Reform

    India has fallen far and fast from the runaway growth rates it enjoyed in the first decade of the twenty-first century. The recent election results have demonstrated a nationwide desire to reverse this trend.

  • May 14, 2014 Washington, DC 中文
    India, China, and Russia: Prospects for Cooperation

    India, China, and Russia are all set to play a major role on the global stage throughout the rest of the twenty-first century. The relationships between the three nations are complex, however, with opportunities for cooperation in areas of convergent interests often being hamstrung by long-standing disputes and rivalries.

  • April 28, 2014 Washington, DC 中文
    India’s Post-Election Foreign Policy

    While there will soon be a new government in New Delhi, India’s foreign policy challenges promise to remain more or less constant.

  • April 2, 2014 Washington, DC
    India’s Improbable Democracy: Resilience and Inadequacies

    Since 1947, India has forged and consolidated the world’s largest democracy—an endeavor that is far from complete. India continues to wrestle with such diverse challenges as ethnic conflict, governance deficits, and stunning economic disparities among regions and peoples.

  • March 25, 2014
    Implications of 2014 Election

    The precise character and makeup of India’s next governing coalition will play a critical role in determining India’s future trajectory on all of these fronts.

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