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HindustanTimes Tue,23 Sep 2014

Hillary Clinton arrives in Kolkata for 3-day India visit

Agencies  Kolkata, May 06, 2012
First Published: 08:43 IST(6/5/2012) | Last Updated: 13:47 IST(6/5/2012)

United States secretary of state Hillary Clinton on Sunday arrived in Kolkata on a three-day visit to India.

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On the last leg of her three-nation Asia tour, Clinton on Sunday reached Kolkata where she will hold talks with West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, before arriving in New Delhi on Monday afternoon.

Clinton will meet West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday, discussions on foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail and India-Bangladesh ties are expected to be high on the agenda. Clinton has arrived for her second ever visit to Kolkata on Sunday.

Speculation is rife that Hillary - who is to meet Banerjee just a day after her meeting with Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina - would raise the issue of the Teesta Water Treaty between India and Bangladesh, which was sent into cold storage due to Banerjee's opposition last year.

According to senior officials of the US administration, discussions over India-Bangladesh ties and trade ought to come up in the discussions as West Bengal will be the main beneficiary of strong India-Bangladesh ties.

The Teesta treaty was proposed to be signed during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's trip to Dhaka last year. But the signing was scrapped following Banerjee's last minute opposition to the quantum of water to be shared with Bangladesh.

The issue of FDI in multibrand retail and other economic reforms are likely to come up at meeting. Discussions over US investment in West Bengal would also be on the discussion table.

Hillary to meet Mamata

Civil nuclear cooperation, regional security and Iran are among the key issues that Clinton is expected to discuss with external affairs minister SM Krishna during their meeting in New Delhi on Tuesday.

During her stay in the national capital, she is expected to call on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh apart from holding talks with Krishna, during which they will also review progress made in their countries' strategic partnership ahead of the India-US strategic dialogue to be held in Washington on June 13.

The meeting between Clinton and Indian leaders gains significance as it comes immediately after her high-level talks in China and ahead of the crucial NATO summit in Chicago, where some important decisions are expected to be made on Afghanistan.

"The entire gamut of bilateral relationship apart from all those issues which impinge on the Indo-US partnership will be discussed," an official source said in New Delhi.

Both sides will discuss civil nuclear cooperation and regional security situation with New Delhi expected to brief the US Secretary on its proposed regional investors' meet in New Delhi to discuss economic development of Afghanistan, sources said.

Though admitting that the US and India were not on the same page on Iran, they said both sides are expected to discuss the issue and put forth each other's positions.

The US, which has imposed sanctions against Tehran, has been asking India to restrict its import of crude oil from Iran but New Delhi has been maintaining that it only accepts sanctions which are made by the United Nations and not unilateral sanctions.


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