Sunday, July 19, 2009

Hillary Clinton in India: Day One with Photos and Video

On Friday, July 17th, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton landed at the Chattrapati Shivaji International airport at about 10:15pm, in Mumbai. After departing her plane on a rainy tarmac, she was greeted by central and Maharashtra state protocol officials, representatives of the US Consulate and American Centre in Mumbai and US embassy in New Delhi.

A few of the officials held large umbrellas over her to shield her from the rain. She was warmly welcomed with big bouquets of red roses.

At around 10:50pm her entourage comprising nearly 25 vehicles started out of the airport to proceed to south Mumbai's Colaba where the Hotel Taj Mahal is located. In a symbolic gesture, the Secretary spent her two-day sojourn in Mumbai at the Arabian Sea-facing hotel. By staying her she is reaching out to the country and to the survivors of 2611. Also, her first meeting scheduled for Saturday morning, was not with the Prime Minsiter or any other government officials, it was a meeting at the Taj with the survivors of 2611. Also a very important symbolic gesture to the citizens and people of India.

After a 45 minute drive among heavy rain and wind, Secretary Clinton was accorded a warm reception at the Taj Hotel about around 11:30pm.

Mumbai police have made extra special security arrangements for the Secretarys stay at the Taj as well as outside the hotel and at all the roads and venues where she is expected to travel during her engagements in Mumbai Saturday. Even the media were kept a long distance away both at the airport and at the Taj Hotel.

During this trip Secretary Clinton hoes to deepen strategic ties with India, an emerging player on the world stage in security, trade, arms control and climate change.

The Secretary had given the first broad exposition of Washington's agenda for India at the US-India Business Council's (USIBC) Synergies Summit last month with a pledge to build what she called the "US-India 3.0" relationship representing the next stage in their evolving ties.

She said this of India:

"We see India as one of a few key partners worldwide who will help us shape the 21st century... It is early in our new administration, and we are clearly committed to furthering and deepening our relationship with India in every way possible."
She also noted that the past three United States administrations, although from different parties, have identified the US-India relationship as a foreign policy priority, she said: "To the United States, this is a project that transcends partnerships and personalities. And I believe the same is true in India."

Since her remarks a month ago, the Secretary has time and again touched on the theme of a "strategic partnership" with India. At her Town Hall meeting Monday at the US Agency for International Development, she said her trip to India is intended to "start a strategic dialogue on a wide range of issues including climate change and clean energy."

View some video footage of Hillary deplaning and being greeted on the tarmac below:

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