News

Secretary of State Clinton Makes Kolkata Her First Stop in India

US Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton waves upon arrival in Kolkata, India, Sunday, May 6, 2012.
US Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton waves upon arrival in Kolkata, India, Sunday, May 6, 2012.
Kurt Achin

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in India for two days of meetings on topics ranging from Iran to Wal-mart. Clinton has chosen to make a regional capital her first stop, rather than New Delhi.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived Sunday in Kolkata, the capital of India's West Bengal state - an itinerary that partially has to do with its proximity to neighboring Bangladesh, where she spent Saturday.

But many observers also see it as significant that the first major meeting on Clinton's agenda is with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday.  Banerjee's party is a key coalition partner with India's ruling Congress Party, and Banerjee herself has been a major roadblock to Indian efforts to open its markets for foreign direct investment in retail.

Last year, Banerjee forced the government to roll back an order which would have allowed American companies like Wal-mart to own a 51 percent stake in multi-brand retail operations, including those that run supply chains for food and agriculture.

Economist N. Bhanumurthy, of New Delhi's National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, says the episode embarrassed the national government and increased the leverage of Mamata Banerjee.

"Last time when the government went ahead with this decision, I think she was very vocal," said Bhanumurthy. "And her voice is more important for the current government.  Secretary [Clinton's] visit to Mamata Banerjee is a realization that the local actors are playing a major role."

Clinton is also expected to discuss a stalled agreement to share water from the Teesta river with neighboring Bangladesh, a deal Banerjee has also opposed in its current form.

The secretary of state heads to the Indian capital late Monday for meetings with Indian leaders.  They are to lay the ground work for a U.S. - India strategic forum scheduled next month in Washington.

Clinton is expected to push the Indian government to continue reducing its dependence on oil from Iran by opting to buy from other countries.  The United States and Europe have sanctioned Iran to discourage what they believe is Teheran's nuclear-weapons program.

India does not support those sanctions, but has quietly been reducing its oil purchases from Iran.

Regional stability in the context of the planned 2014 U.S. military pullout from Afghanistan is also to be on the agenda for the New Delhi meetings.

Clinton is also expected to raise the issue of civil nuclear cooperation between the two countries, which has been stalled by an accident liability law passed in India two years ago.  U.S. nuclear corporations feel the scope of the damages to be paid in the event of a nuclear accident unfairly biases India's nuclear market against private American corporations in favor of state-owned nuclear companies in Russia and elsewhere. 

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishui
X
Abdulaziz Billow
June 30, 2015 2:16 PM
Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs