was just the idea that these two democracies could
actually be un-estranged, and that’s what Bill Clinton
He demonstrated that the two societies could come
to a point of mutual respect and potential affection.
And then the Bush Administration brought the second big idea — which was to normalize the nuclear
relationship and in so doing, to put the overall political
relationship on a better path for the future.
You can’t have a big idea every four years. So, I think
the consolidation was right.
I think in its second term the (Obama) Administration does need to pay some closer attention to the
I am concerned that with everything else on the
President’s plate, domestically as well as internationally — the Middle East is once again in turmoil — I am
worried about it getting appropriate attention.
So, there is not enough stoking of the fire at this
The fire is burning, but it is unattended. It is not
And there is a new Secretary of State.
Secretary (John F) Kerry is going to India this month.
I don’t necessarily take it that John Kerry will neglect
India compared to Hillary Clinton.
Clearly, Hillary Clinton has a connection with India
going back to the early 1990s, an affection for the place
and is held in high regard there.
During her time as secretary she spent a lot of time in
India and deepened those relationships.
I am not yet ready to judge how the Kerry term will
compare to that. I think the larger and more important
question is: Will the Obama Administration have the
ability to focus on the relationship?
Especially, given the two elections, first the one here, and
then the one in India, have basically taken two years out of
the realm of possible attention. Then we will be closing in on
the 2016 election.
Why do we no longer see India experts like yourself, who got
to know the country better than we do?
Why do they not make your kinds of India experts any
I was privileged to be part of a generation of people who
had that opportunity, because of the Peace Corps and similar
programs and because of, frankly, the US government presence — the number of Fulbrights, the number of exchange
scholars, the number of AFS (American Field Service) students who were going to India at the time.
Those opportunities have diminished for a variety of reasons.
I would say going back to our conversation about the private sector ballast and the ship of India-US relations, that is
still missing – the real people to people (relationships), particularly young (people).
Young Indians come here to go to school and they know
America. They know America through lots of ways. One way
or another, they have gotten here as young people.
That is very much not as common among young Americans. Programs like the one I participated in or high school
Marshall Bouton at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. He made his expertise available when American policy makers began
to reassess the relationship with India.
COUR TES Y: MARSHALL BOUTON
exchange programs like the American Field Service, which I
went on to go to France in 1959, (don’t exist for India).
For instance, if there were more universities that had stay
abroad exchange programs (by which) you could study in
India for a year, either they have campuses, or they have joint
ventures with Indian universities and students can go and
study there, the way they do in Europe.
I know lots of young Americans who have studied in China
for a year or half a year. It’s embedded in them. ( They are)
injected with an interest in China that will last their lifetime.
They don’t send students to India. Very hard to place students in India for a year of school. There needs to be more of
My experience is that when young Americans go to India,
four out of five of them get it in their blood for the rest of
What are your plans after your retire from the Chicago
Council of Global Affairs? Is India part of that picture?
Will India be a very central part of the next chapter of my
professional and personal life?
Yes, for sure.
I am going to have other professional involvements, but the
one that is going to be my principal vehicle for re-engage-
ment with India will be my role as the Senior Fellow at the
Center for Advanced Study of India at the University of
SPONSORED B Y