A video of a public event featuring Bruce Riedel, author of ‘JFK’s Forgotten Crisis: Tibet, the CIA, and the Sino-Indian War’, has recently gone viral on social media where the CIA analyst can be seen discussing his book on former US President John F. Kennedy. In the context of the book, Riedel narrated an interesting incident that involved Jawaharlal Nehru and JFK’s wife, Jacqueline Kennedy. In the clip, Riedel says that the first Prime Minister of India was ‘smitten’ by the First Lady of the United States.
चाचा नेहरु के औसम किस्से— iMac_too (@iMac_too) May 27, 2020
Bruce Riedel says Chacha was so smitten by Jacqueline Kennedy after meeting her that he kept her photo at his bed table rest of his life
[Video courtesy @me2nationalist] pic.twitter.com/fVqBIWAfBS
The video is from 2016 when Bruce Riedel, who has a thirty-year experience working for the CIA and was adviser to four US presidents on South Asia and the Middle East, was speaking of the contribution Jacqueline Kennedy made towards establishing cordial relationships with India and Pakistan for the USA at a public event. He said, “Nehru, I would say, was smitten by the first lady. For the rest of his life, he had a photograph of her on his bed-stand.”
Realising how inappropriate the gesture was, Bruce Riedel quickly added, “Now that’s, you know, a little unusual, I don’t wanna dwell on it too much but it’s another example of how the First Lady in this case played a role that I think is quite unusual in American diplomacy.” The audience broke out into peels of laughter when Riedel was speaking about Jawaharlal Nehru. The discussion took place at the International Spy Museum.
Jawaharlal Nehru has a reputation for being ‘smitten’ on several occasions. His alleged relationship with Edwina Mountbatten is a matter of much gossip and speculation. It is, however, to be remembered that Jacqueline Kennedy was forty years younger to Nehru. Bruce Riedel is a senior fellow at the Brookings Intelligence Project and was the director at the time when he revealed Nehru’s infatuation with Jacqueline Kennedy.