Ric Smith, Australia’s former ambassador to China and Indonesia, and a former Secretary of the Department of Defence, reflects on his 50-year acquaintance with India. His talk paints a picture of India in the period he served there, from 1970 to 1973. Covering the rise of Indira Gandhi, the events which led to the creation of Bangladesh, and the fascinating interplay between India, the US and the Soviet Union, he outlined a critical time in India’s modern history. As well as encompassing developments in Australia-India relations with continuing significance today, this was a formative period for Smith and his young family, and for his subsequent diplomatic and public service career. In ranging across the years that followed he talked about his work with India as Australia’s special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, and offered some provocative ideas about aspects of India he knew and the nation’s future.