For the first interview of The Policymakers series, Kenneth I. Juster, U.S. Ambassador to India from 2017 to 2021, sat down with Mark Wu, Director of the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies and Henry L. Stimson Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, to provide his perspective on China’s role in reshaping not only the U.S.-India relationship, but also the strategic security dialogue commonly known as The Quad. The Ambassador gives a brief historical overview of U.S.-India relations, tracing largely positive developments since Bill Clinton’s pathbreaking trip to India, to enhanced cooperation between the two countries during the George W. Bush administration, and the signing of the U.S.-India Civil Nuclear Agreement in October of 2008. This conversation also covers the various initiatives in which the Ambassador played a role, including adopting the concept of the “Indo-Pacific,” in terms of trade, and reviving the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, a strategic partnership between Japan, Australia, the United States, and India. Juster explains how an “increased common strategic clarity” toward China’s rise makes the Quad more necessary now than it was in its earlier iteration, citing skirmishes between China and India along the Line of Actual Control in June of 2020 as providing “greater impetus,” while also stressing that “The Quad is not designed to control China.” Lastly, Juster, a Harvard alumnus who gives back the University through his funding of the Kenneth I. Juster Fellowships at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, reflects on his long career in government and offers some advice for those in the next generation who may be in charge of reshaping the policy architecture of this new order.
“The Quad is not designed to control China, but it is an effort to provide a positive agenda for the region, and build an architecture that will help promote a free and open Indo-Pacific.”
— Ambassador Kenneth I. Juster