News

US Secretary of State Meets Key Regional Figure in Indian Politics

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, right, and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton greet each other before a meeting in Kolkata, India, Monday, May 7, 2012.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, right, and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton greet each other before a meeting in Kolkata, India, Monday, May 7, 2012.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in the Indian capital, where she is scheduled to meet the country's highest officials. Clinton is pressing energy-starved India to continue weaning itself off oil imports from Iran.

Before arriving in the Indian capital Monday, Secretary Clinton met in Kolkata with one of India's most influential regional officials - West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

It was her first major meeting since arriving in India from Bangladesh - but Banerjee says two widely anticipated topics were not on the agenda.

In response to a reporter's question, Banerjee says she and Clinton did not discuss the issue of foreign direct investment or a stalled agreement to share water from the Teesta river along the West Bengal/Bangladesh border.

Last year, an Indian government order would have permitted foreign ownership stakes in multi-brand retail operations in major cities. It would have effectively allowed American corporate giants like Wal-mart to control supply chains for food and agriculture. Banerjee opposed the order, and forced the government to roll it back by threatening to withdraw her party from the ruling coalition.

Prior to the Banerjee meeting, Clinton indicated in a televised town hall discussion that she was likely to raise the issue of foreign direct investment. "There is an enormous amount of experience that can be brought to India on supply chain management, on developing relationships with small producers so that production will be in larger quantity, and there can be all kinds of assistance with farmers on their agricultural production," she said. "So I think there are a lot of benefits that may not be necessarily immediately perceived."

India Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee announced Monday India would be softening some controversial tax measures that had caused concern among international investors. It is unclear if the timing of the announcement is in any way linked to Clinton's visit.

In New Delhi, Clinton is scheduled to visit with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi. She also plans to meet her Indian counterpart, S.M. Krishna, to set the stage for a U.S. - India strategic forum scheduled in Washington next month.

The issue of Indian oil imports from Iran is also expected to be high on Clinton's meeting agenda. The United States and Europe have placed sanctions against Teheran to discourage what they believe is a nuclear weapons program.

India does not back the sanctions, and is actually seeking to boost non-oil trade with Iran. Still, Clinton acknowledged India's efforts to quietly reduce Iranian fuel imports, and she is expected to urge Indian leaders to do even more. "We appreciate what has been done and of course, we want to keep the pressure on Iran so whatever India or other countries can do, will help us achieve that," she stated.

Meanwhile, Clinton confirmed Monday that she had personally authorized a $10-million bounty for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of suspected Pakistani terrorist Hafiz Saeed. Saeed is accused of a major role in planning the November 2011 terror attacks in Mumbai which killed 166 people. There has been some confusion about the bounty since last month, when Washington's ambassador to Pakistan insisted the United States was not offering it.

Clinton also said Monday that she believes al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri is located in Pakistan. In Islamabad, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar told reporters that if Washington has evidence of his presence, then it should be provided to Pakistan because al-Qaida is an enemy of both countries.

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: NVO
May 07, 2012 9:15 AM
Clinton MUST explain her affiliation with The Bilderbergs, The Rothschilds, The Rockefellers, The Club Of Rome, The Trilateral Commission, The Counsel On Foreign Relations. ALL pushing for a ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT under THE NEW WORLD ORDER. DO NOT BE DECEIVED by this NEW WORLD ORDER PROPONENT!!!

by: JohnWV
May 07, 2012 2:49 AM
NO MORE WARS! Israel has ICBM nukes and has threatened Iran's very existence. Israel, not Iran, is the warmonger. Resolution lies with increasingly severe UN sanctions against Israel pending cessation of its cruel and deranged Mideast hegemony. NO MORE WARS!

by: Dr. S. Gavarasana
May 07, 2012 2:31 AM
Mrs. Clinton should explain to the citizens of India how cutting oil supplies from Iran helps India? If Indian politicians are smart, they will understand what Mrs.Clinton is saying!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs