W. BEHIND TRANSFORMED US INDIA RELATIONS
In early 1999, George W. Bush met with eight foreign policy advisors, collectively known as the Vulcans, in his ranch at Crawford, Texas. He was preparing for his White House bid. They were there to tell him about the world.
Well into the briefing, Bush interrupted: “Wait a minute. Why aren’t we talking about India?” The Vulcans — who included Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz — looked at each other. India didn’t matter, they explained.
Bush’s response: “You’re wrong.” He gave three reasons.
One, India was a democracy of one billion people and that was “just incredible.” It is a mantra he still chants with near reverence at the mention of India. Two, Indians were geniuses with software. No Vulcan knew what he was talking about. Three, “You all are going on about the need to balance China. You can’t do that without India.”
Bush later took aside two Vulcans, the present National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley and Bush’s first ambassador to India, Robert Blackwill. “If I am elected, I want a paper on how to transform the US-India relationship on my table before inauguration.”
In December 2000 Bush became US president-elect. He called in Hadley and Blackwill and demanded, “Where’s my paper on India?” They had forgotten. They spent Christmas in the White House reading up on this faraway country that the most powerful man in the world was so fixated on.
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