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Namaste India

india Updated: Jul 19, 2009 00:55 IST
HT Correspondent

“Both our people have experienced the senseless and searing effects of violent extremism. And both can be grateful and proud of the heroism of brave men and women whose courage saved lives and prevented greater harm on 26/11 and 9/11…”

Hillary Clinton in the 26/11 Memorial Book at the Taj Mahal Hotel, Mumbai

Arriving in Mumbai nearly seven months after the terror attacks that convulsed this city like nothing before, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who has lived through the 9/11 attack on New York, extended a warm hand of empathy to Mumbai and set the emotional tone for her visit to India.

The business of diplomacy she presumably left for Delhi, where she goes on Sunday.

This morning, Clinton took the time to pay homage to and meet victims of the 26/11 attacks as the who’s who of India Inc awaited an audience with her.

Clinton’s visit marks the first by a high-ranking official of the Barack Obama administration.

She met privately families of those killed on 26/11 as well as the staff of the Taj and Trident hotels who survived the attacks. Taj general manager Karambir Kang, whose wife and two sons died in the attack, was among those she met. He later accompanied Clinton on a tour of the heritage structure that is the hotel.

“The great men and women who worked in this hotel courageously stood in times of violence, helped save lives. They deserve our gratitude,” Clinton said later.

Earlier in the day, Clinton met women embroidery workers of the Gujarat-based Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), who had travelled to the city from their village, at Napean Sea Road. “President Obama’s administration will support organisations like SEWA, which teach democracy and build confidence among women not only within India but also women in neighbouring countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan,” Clinton said.

She took that emotional-connect theme into her meeting with business leaders. The agenda was corporate social responsibility (CSR) rather than business itself.

Industrialists and bankers made presentations on CSR initiatives they have undertaken and the discussion revolved around how their CSR activities could be scaled up.

“Clinton was open to a diverse set of subjects within CSR, ranging from education, health, nutrition and green technology to financial inclusion,” said Chanda Kochhar, managing director and CEO of ICICI Bank.