"What India Means To Me"
Ambassador Robert D. Blackwill
(US Ambassador to India)
A Luncheon Speech
July 29, 2003
New Delhi, India
Ambassador Robert D. Blackwill
Photo source: USembassy.state.gov
Robert D. Blackwill
Ambassador Blackwill is returning to the US after a two year
tenure in India. His Luncheon Speech, addressing the
Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry in New Delhi, came
from the heart.
A retired US career diplomat, he taught foreign and defense
policy at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School, before his
nomination as U.S. Ambassador to India.
He was the Belfer Lecturer in International Security at
Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. During
his 14 years at Harvard, he was Associate Dean of the Kennedy
School, faculty chairman of the School's Executive Program for U.S.
and Russian General Officers; of the School's Chinese Security
Studies Program; and of the Kennedy School's Middle East Initiative.
As Special Assistant to President George Bush for European and
Soviet Affairs in 1989-90, he was awarded the Commander's Cross of
the Order of Merit by the Federal Republic of Germany for his
contribution to German Unification.
He is the author of many books and articles.
Throughout my two years in New Delhi, the Federation of
Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) has been vital to the
promotion of US-India relations. I especially salute FICCI's support in the
establishment of the Indo-US Parliamentary Forum. This important body allows
lawmakers from the world's two largest democracies to exchange views on a
wide range of issues facing our countries.
I would like to thank all of you from FICCI for your extraordinary efforts
and for inviting me here today.
Ten days ago, I gave my final policy speech as US Ambassador to India.
Today, I shall share with you personal thoughts about how this country has
shaped me during these past two years. Unlike Siddhartha, my meditations
while preparing this address have not produced total Enlightenment.
Unfortunately, Brahma and Saraswati, because of my own limitations, will not
adequately inspire my remarks on this occasion with regard to my spiritual
and intellectual advancement. I clearly need to spend more time at Brahma's
temple in Pushkar.
And, despite my continuing contemplations, I am not always able to follow
Krishna's wise words, "Be thou of even mind." He might have added,
including at your Round Tables at Roosevelt House.
Notwithstanding my many inadequacies and the persistence of Maya, the
ever-present veil of illusion, please permit me to proceed since India is
the great storyteller, and because I am soon leaving this amazing country.
Shortly after my arrival, I took the train from New Delhi to Mumbai to see
and feel the land and people of India. You must understand that I love to
ride the rails. Paul Theroux, the glorious American writer who was my friend
in the Peace Corps in Africa more than thirty years ago, describes train
travel like this, "the train soothed and comforted me and stimulated my
imagination. It …provided access to my past by activating my memory. I had
made a discovery: I would gladly go anywhere on a train." That's also
So let's quickly take the train around India, pausing in Delhi before we