Open Thread: Hillary in IndiaPosted: May 7, 2012
[Click on the photo to see more pictures of Hillary Clinton in India.]
This is just going to be a link and photo dump, because I know absolutely nothing about Indian politics.
Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, hoped to narrow a gap with India over Iran on Monday as she tried to throw a spotlight on issues dear to her heart such as the fight against sex trafficking.
Mrs Clinton was paying the first visit by a top US official to the eastern metropolis Kolkata and will then meet in New Delhi with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, amid concern that the growing US-India partnership has been drifting….
On Sunday, Mrs Clinton sought to draw attention to sex trafficking in India, where forced prostitution of women and girls is one of the largest illicit businesses.
Mrs Clinton appeared visibly moved as she watched a dance by former victims of sex trafficking, who recounted their plight in a synchronised performance designed as a form of therapy by the local group Kolkata Sanved.
Mrs Clinton called the recital “mesmerising” and thanked each of the six dancers, telling them she was proud of them. She was shown quilts which former trafficking victims sew as a way to give them new livelihoods.
“What you’re doing is so important to try to not only help yourselves but to help other young girls,” Mrs Clinton said.
Here’s another article on the anti-trafficking event: Hillary’s date with history
She’s cheerleader in trafficking crusade
To them, she was “US ka bahut bara neta….Bill Clinton ki biwi (a top leader of the US….Bill Clinton’s wife)”. To her, they were the faces of a movement close to her heart.
When Poonam Khatoon, 16, and Uma Das, 19, finally found themselves face to face with Hillary Clinton at the Rabindranath Tagore Centre of the ICCR on Sunday afternoon, all it needed was a smile to break down the barriers.
“Aami bhabtei parini onar shamne darate parbo. Uni amader lorai-tey shamil hoyechhen, sheta ekta boro byapar (I couldn’t imagine I would be standing in front of her. She has joined our crusade, that’s a big thing),” Uma told Metro of her meeting with the US secretary of state.
Community worker Uma and Poonam, a student of Class IX, are daughters of women in prostitution involved with Apne Aap Women Worldwide, a grassroots movement to end sex trafficking. The duo took turns escorting Hillary through a pictorial journey of a trafficked girl.
At the end of the event, Hillary told the women she was their “cheerleader” and that she would “stand by” them. They asked her to talk publicly about human trafficking as much as she could.
The secretary of state’s keepsake from the Sunday afternoon rendezvous was a green wristband with the words: “Cool Men Don’t Buy Sex”.
Hillary not only wore the band immediately, she insisted that members of her entourage sport one each as well. “She was also gifted a T-shirt that read: ‘Together we can end sex trafficking’.
NEW DELHI — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton arrived in India’s capital Monday with a clear message for the country’s leaders: Cooperate with us on with Iran.
Yet less than a mile from her meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, there was another group meeting with Indian leaders. An Iranian trade delegation is in New Delhi, overlapping with Clinton’s trip and potentially undermining one of its main purposes.
The Obama administration is turning up the pressure on India to join international sanctions against Iran that would choke off funds for the country’s nuclear program. India, which relies on Iran for about 12 percent of its oil imports, has so far been unwilling to go along.
“This is a regime that has a history of aggressive behavior,” Clinton warned of Iran during a town hall-style meeting Monday morning in Kolkata, her first stop in a three-day swing through India. “And I don’t think you deal with aggressors by giving in to them. … Our goal is resolve this peacefully and diplomatically, and that’s why we need India to be part of the international effort.”
Finally, a report from India on Hillary’s meeting with the prime minister:
New Delhi: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
Hillary and the Prime Minister discussed several issues related to Indo-US relations. She also urged India to speed up the civil nuclear deal and cut oil imports from Iran….
Before her meeting with the Prime Minister, Hillary met Mamata Banerjee earlier on Monday and promised more US investment in West Bengal….
According to a US consulate statement, the top US diplomat, who had an hour-long meeting with Banerjee, discussed a range of issues including stepping up US investments in the state, according to a US consulate statement.
“Touching on issues, ranging from increasing US investment in West Bengal, including in the retail sector, US-India relations, regional affairs and strong people-to-people connections, the Secretary reaffirmed to the chief minister the US desire to work with India and West Bengal to deepen and broaden our partnership,” it said.