New Delhi, May 6: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has arrived in Kolkata from Dhaka on a three day visit to India on Sunday. She waved to the waiting camerapersons at the airport and posed for photos before boarding a limousine which headed for her hotel in South Kolkata amid tight security.
The high point of Clinton’s visit, her second to the city and first after becoming the US Secretary of state, will be her meeting with Mamata Banerjee at the state secretariat, Writers’ Building, Monday 11 a.m. On Sunday, she will attend a cultural programme at the Indian Council for Cultural Relations auditorium in central Kolkata and visit Victoria Memorial.
Monday, prior to her discussions with Mamata, she would address intellectuals, academicians and other eminent personalities of the city. Clinton had earlier visited the city as the US first lady to attend the funeral of Mother Teresa in September 1997.
Civil nuclear cooperation, regional security and Iran are among the key issues that Hillary Clinton is expected to discuss with External Affairs Minister SM Krishna during their meeting on Tuesday.
On the last leg of her three-nation Asia tour, Clinton has reached Kolkata from Bangladesh where she is expected to hold talks with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, before arriving in New Delhi on Monday afternoon.
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.
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 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.
Senior officials in the US administration have maintained that discussions over India-Bangladesh ties and trade ought to come up in the discussions between Clinton and Banerjee.
The Indo-Bangla Teesta Water Treaty, which is being opposed by the West Bengal Chief Minister, is also expected to be discussed during their meeting.
The issue of FDI in multi-brand retail and other economic reforms are also expected to be discussed.