The cowboy who won over the Indians
George W. Bush’s largely unknown achievement has been the very successful wooing of India, where his approval rating is 65 percent. On Monday, the Vail Symposium will host Pramit Pal Chaudhuri, a leading figure in Indian policymaking circles, as he considers why the Washington establishment is showing such an interest in India, and why India is so receptive of the United States’ courtship. In recent years, America has been giving India the special treatment. Though India has welcomed the kindness with open arms (making it the third most pro-U.S. nation in the world, by some ratings), Chaudhuri explained that many of its countrymen still question America’s motives: “Why is [the United States] doing all this? Why do [Americans] talk about making [India] a great power of the 21st century?” they ask.In his talk, Chaudhuri will look at multiple reasons that may explain this new friendship, including: the resurgence of China, the ever-increasing threat of terrorism, India’s democratic structure, strengthening ties among the Indian-American community, and India’s technological achievement, among others. He will also attempt to explain why Bush, personally, seems so enamored with India, when he “has never even visited [the] country and has never shown any interest in India before he became President.” The implications of the recent U.S.-legislated approval of India’s use of Nuclear Power will also be considered.Chaudhuri is a Senior Correspondent of The Hindustan Times and a Bernard Schwartz fellow at the Asia Society.
The writer has been with Hindustan Times since 2001. It is the main newspaper of New Delhi and the 38th largest newspaper in the world (right behind the New York Times). Together with its Hindi counterpart, the Hindustan Times (English) enjoys a daily circulation of 2.25 million copies and a readership base 14.49 million strong. The Asia Society’s Bernard Schwartz Resident Fellows are selected from among the most respected leaders from Asia and the United States. The Vail Symposium, in a new partnership with the Asia Society, will be presenting an Asia Society Bernard Schwartz Fellow each season. The talk will take place from 5:30-7:15pm at Chaparral, Cordillera Valley Club, in Edwards. Cost is $20 for Symposium members/$25 for nonmembers, with complimentary hors d’oeuvres and cash bar. For reservations, call 476-0954 or visit http://www.vailsymposium.org.