Secretary Clinton heads to Asia with concluding stop in India

Secretary Clinton speaks about the relationship between India and the United States at the Anna Centenary Library in Chennai, India during her 2011 visit

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The United States is gearing up for another round of cementing ties with India as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will arrive in New Delhi as the final stop of her multi-legged trip to China, Bangladesh, and India, departing April 30 from Washington DC.

After attending meetings in China and a brief stopover in Dhaka, the diplomatic entourage will head to India, making stops in Kolkata and New Delhi.

The latest visit comes within a year of her last visit to India in July 2011 when Secretary Clinton had declared that the US-Indian relationship will define the 21st century, while urging Delhi to play a stronger global role.

“In Kolkata, the Secretary looks forward to meeting state officials and other civil society organization representatives,” according to Victoria Nuland, the State Department spokesperson.

Arriving in New Delhi, Secretary Clinton “will meet with Indian government officials to review progress in the strategic partnership, looking forward to the U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue to be held in Washington, D.C. on June 13 and to be co-chaired by Secretary Clinton and Indian Minister of External Affairs S.M. Krishna,” said Nuland in a statement.

Secretary Clinton has an agenda loaded with concerns from American businesses about Indian parliament balking at opening of retail giants like Walmart and the continuing impasse over the liability clause in the nuclear deal.

The threat of US sanctions on countries buying Iranian oil will definitely be discussed, as some US lawmakers on the Hill are expressing unhappiness at New Delhi’s continuous oil trade with Tehran.

Indian concerns include a rising number of visa denials for high tech jobs, while the perpetual issue of urging Pakistan to rein in terrorism across the border will definitely be discussed behind closed doors.

Although different political pundits have raised concerns that the US-India relationship has been drifting apart, Frank Wisner, veteran diplomat and former ambassador to India, told India America Today recently, “Those who say the relationship is stalled or we need time to stop and take our breath and consolidate, they’ve got it all wrong. This relationship now has a momentum that is embedded in it and we can manage the little crises and differences if we are careful with one another.”

“We now have ballast, if you will, that makes it possible for this ship of Indian American relationship to sail in stormy weather. I would like to think we could sail to a strategic outcome, a deepening of the relationship,” said Ambassador Wisner. (IATNS)

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