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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Clinton Meets Indian PM, Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi

The U.S. diplomat, Hillary Clinton, met in India Friday with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Chairperson of the ruling Congress Party, Sonia Gandhi. Government officials cited by IANS news agency said Clinton and Singh discussed the entire range of bilateral issues, including on security, defense, civil nuclear cooperation and terrorism.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, on a three-day visit to India, met Monday with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the leader of the ruling coalition, Sonia Gandhi.
Clinton was expected to urge India to further cut its Iranian oil imports and find alternative sources of oil on the international market as part of a continued campaign to pressure Tehran over its controversial nuclear program.
For half an hour, U.S. Secretary of State and the Indian Prime Minister also shared views on China, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and the situation of the global economy, sources said without elaborating. Clinton was also received by Sonia Gandhi, considered one of the most influential people in Indian politics.
Without further details, Congress Party officials reported that the two discussed issues concerning bilateral relations and international situation, particularly in South Asia. The U.S. diplomat will meet with the Indian Foreign Minister, SM Krishna, with the to coordinate the agenda of the third round of strategic dialogue between the two countries, scheduled for June 13 in Washington.
India is the third leg of an Asian tour that earlier took her to China (3 and 4 May) and Bangladesh (5 and 6). In Beijing co-chaired with Vice Premier Wang Qishan and State Councilor Dai Bingguo, the fourth round of Strategic and Economic Dialogue U.S.-China.
While in Kolkata, Clinton noted that Pakistan has not acted on U.S. and Indian calls to capture or try suspected Pakistani terrorist Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, accused of playing a major role in the 2008 terrorist attack in Mumbai that killed 166 people. The U.S. secretary confirmed Monday that she personally authorized a $10 million bounty for information leading to Saeed's arrest and prosecution.
Clinton also said she believes that al-Qaida chief Ayman al-Zawahiri is in Pakistan. Her Pakistani counterpart, Hina Rabbani Khan, responded that if Washington has evidence of Zawahiri's presence, it should be provided to Islamabad, because al-Qaida is an enemy of both countries.
In Dhaka, his Bangladeshi counterpart Dipu Moni signed a statement about the intentions of both countries to promote trade and cooperation in various areas. also met with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed and other government representatives to review bilateral relations in the whole range of political, economic and security . then spent about 24 hours in the Indian state of West Bengal, which advocated that New Delhi supports foreign direct investment in the retail sector with Bangladesh to resolve their differences over a border river, and cut imports of Iranian oil. The Political Bureau Communist Party of India (Marxist) described these and other of his statements as an "unacceptable intrusion" in the internal affairs of the country or pertaining to bilateral relations with other states.

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