Secretary Clinton Recaps Her Travel to India, Thailand

July 28, 2009
Secretary Clinton Signs the November 26, 2008 Memorial Book
Secretary Clinton listens to SEWA Participants
Secretary Clinton is Introduced on Indian Television with Aamir Khan
Secretary Clinton Greets the Crowd at the ITC Green Center in Gurgaon
Secretary Clinton Talks with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh During Their Meeting in New Delhi
Secretary Clinton and Indian Minister of External Affairs S.M. Krishna Shake Hands
Secretary Clinton is Greeted by Thailand's Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Panich Vikitsreth and His Wife
Secretary Clinton is Introduced to Anchalee Vanich
Secretary Clinton Waves as She Arrives for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum
Secretary Clinton and Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem Shake Hands Before an ASEAN Group Photo
An Interview with Secretary Clinton at the Phyathai Palace in Bangkok is Taped
Secretary Clinton is Greeted by Angkhana Neelaphaijit, President of the Working Group on Justice for Peace

About the Author: Hillary Rodham Clinton serves as the U.S. Secretary of State.

Early last Friday morning, I returned from a whirlwind trip through India and Thailand.

I went to India with the goal of strengthening the ties between our two governments, but I also hoped to deepen the connections between the American people and the people of India. As I wrote in an op-ed for the Times of India, “Our people share common interests, common values, and a common stake in the 21st century.”

Despite arriving in the middle of monsoon season in Mumbai, I was warmly welcomed by Indian Ambassador-designate Tim Roemer, Chargé Peter Burleigh, and Consul General Paul Folmsbee. In Mumbai we chose to stay at the Taj Mahal Hotel in order to send a clear message that we stand in solidarity with the people of Mumbai and all those who were affected by the tragic 26/11 terrorist attacks. The Taj today represents a rebuke to those who failed to destroy the spirit and the resilience of the people of India. On the first morning of our stay I had the honor to commemorate those who died in the attacks and meet with some of the victims' families and survivors, as well as those who bravely assisted in the rescue efforts.

Later, I sat down with Indian business leaders to discuss a number of topics, including how Indian and American businesses can use innovation and entrepreneurship to spread prosperity more broadly across our two countries.

That afternoon, I toured the Hansiba retail shop, which sells goods through the Self Employed Women's Association (SEWA), a micro-finance organization that gives women in rural businesses loans to make crafts. I first visited SEWA in 1995 in Gujarat and could not be more pleased that more than a dozen years later it is now considered a true world leader in the empowerment of women.

The first day ended with an education and service-oriented town hall with Bollywood star Aamir Khan where we had a chance to discuss the education systems of our two countries and the extraordinary value of programs like Teach for America and Teach India.

The next morning I flew to New Delhi where I was greeted by the Indian Ambassador to the United States Meira Shankar and Gaitri Kumar, the Joint Secretary for the Americas. Following our arrival, Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern and I toured one of the only two buildings in India to be honored for meeting the U.S. Business Council's highest standards of environmentally conscious building design and operation. In a conversation with the Minister of Environment and Forests, Jairam Ramesh, we shared our different perspectives but also our firm common commitment to work to a successful outcome later this year at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.

I then toured the National Agricultural Research Institute's Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia, a joint venture between the U.S. and Indian governments, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and other public and private sector entities, where some of India's top scientists are working to solve one of the most difficult challenges we face as a global community: the problem of chronic hunger and malnutrition, which affect nearly a billion people in the world.

The next morning, I delivered remarks at a town hall we held at Delhi University, describing how India is emerging as a global leader for the 21st century. The energy, dynamism and vitality of India was palpable throughout my visit -- it’s in the faces of those who get up every day and work hard for a better future, and in the hope that they carry inside their hearts for their children.

Following "DU," I joined Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for lunch. On President Obama's behalf, I invited the Prime Minister to Washington for the Administration’s first State Visit, and he warmly accepted. Later in the afternoon, I also met with Opposition Leader LK Advani; Chairwoman of the Congress Party Sonia Ghandi and MP Rahul Ghandi; and in the evening, with External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna.

External Affairs Minister Krishna and I announced the Strategic Dialogue, an agreement between India and the U.S. that will focus on five primary pillars: strategic cooperation; energy and climate change; education and development; economics, trade, and agriculture; science and technology; and health and innovation.

We then headed to Bangkok, Thailand. It gave me great joy to return to Thailand as I have very fond memories of my previous visits. I met with Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and then with Deputy Prime Minister Korbsak Sabhavasu. I reiterated that President Obama and I are committed to a broader, stronger, and deeper relationship with Thailand. We are historic treaty allies, fellow democracies, strategic partners, and above all, we are friends. Our friendship has stood the test of time (more than 175 years) and I’m confident that it will stand the tests of the 21st century.

Wednesday, I sat down with The Nation’s Suttichai Yoon and Veenarat Laohapakakul for an interview before a live studio audience of about 250 students, young leaders, bloggers, and celebrities. We discussed a range of issues including North Korea, Burma, Iran, India, and human trafficking.

The last stop on the tour was the ASEAN Regional Forum in Phuket, Thailand where I hope my message was clear: The United States is back in Southeast Asia. President Obama and I believe that this region is vital to global progress, peace, and prosperity, and we are fully engaged with our ASEAN partners on the wide range of challenges confronting us, from regional and global security to the economic crisis to human rights and climate change.

I also took the opportunity at ASEAN to talk with a number of foreign ministers about our concerns regarding North Korea, including Russian FM Lavrov, Japanese FM Nakasone, South Korean FM Yu, and Chinese FM Yang. Complete and irreversible denuclearization is the only viable path for North Korea. We do not intend to reward North Korea just for returning to the table, nor do we intend to reward them for actions they have already committed to taking and then reneged on. The path is open to them, and it is up to them to follow it. Unless and until they do, they will face international isolation and the unrelenting pressure of global sanctions. Also while at ASEAN, I had the chance to sit down with my Pakistani counterpart Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi to discuss the situation in the region.

On August 4, it’s off to Africa and I’ll be sure to send you more updates along the way.

Comments

Comments

Deborah S.
|
Missouri, USA
July 28, 2009

Deborah S. in Missouri writes:

I appreciate all of the time and effort Secretary Hillary Clinton has given to call attention to the problem of human trafficking and work to eradicate the problem! God Bless You!

Paula H.
|
Tennessee, USA
July 28, 2009

Paula H. in Tennessee writes:

Madame Secretary:

I am so proud of you in your new role as Secretary of State in our government. I am a third and fourth grade Special Education teacher in a very impoverished area. I made a game for my classes this year emphasizing the three branches of government. I will also add the President's cabinet. You will be there, of course. I will present you as part of the American dream with the hope of inspiring the children to try as hard as they can to reach their goals. We are in a very depressed area with little employment opportunity so taking advantage of education is so important for these dear children.

Keep up the good work and may God continue to bless you and your family and keep you safe in your travels.

Sincerely,
Paula H.

Ekenyerengozi C.
|
Nigeria
July 29, 2009

Chima from Nigeria writes:

The Untold Truth About the Niger Delta Crisis

? MEND is not responsible for the Niger Delta Crisis
? The Nigerian Government and Multinational Oil Companies are responsible for the Niger Delta Crisis
? The Solution to the Niger Delta Crisis is the Administration of True Federal Democracy as Practiced by the United States of America.

In 2004 as I was aggrieved by the rampant cases of cultism and gangesterism in Rivers state and the destruction of innocent lives and properties, I felt the urgency to address the critical issues and meet with the leading principal actors I could reach and persuade them to end the violence. I informed the international headquarters of Shell of my pacific mission before I left Lagos for Port Harcourt on a night coach.

The solution to the protracted Niger Delta crisis is the administration of true Federal Democracy as practiced by the United States of America and this is what both MEND and NDPVF have been demanding for and also the prosecution of all the retired and serving senior military officers found guilty of illegal oil bunkering.

The Nigerian Navy can actually stop illegal oil bunkering by asking for the assistance of the U.S. Navy to patrol the territorial waters of Nigeria and to attack all tankers, boats and barges engaged in illegal oil bunkering since they can be easily identified from the authorized tankers and vessels on Nigerian waters. Then the multinational oil companies must be prosecuted for the violations of the MOU they signed with the Federal Republic of Nigeria since 1956 to date.

The Joint Task Force of the Nigerian Armed Forces in the Niger Delta should be withdraw, because it an unconstitutional mission. All licenses of illegal oil blocks must be withdrawn.

The local and foreign bank accounts of Nigerians suspected of ill-gotten wealth from misappropriations of revenue allocations for the oil producing states and over-invoicing of government contracts should investigated and those found guilty should be prosecuted in a public trial and not behind closed doors.

The former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, Mujahid Dokubo-Asari, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, the former governor of Bayelsa State and Obasanjo's successor, President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua have the full list of the criminals who are still engaged in illegal oil bunkering in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.

Rosemary
|
New Jersey, USA
July 29, 2009

Rosemary in New Jersey writes:

Dear Hillary,

Yes we ARE back in Asia, and it is because of your broad, energetic, warm and cordial outreach to all levels of society wherever you go -- including on this trip.

I don't know if "whirlwind" quite describes it -- seems more like a tornado to me!

You are THE Turbo-Secretary of State, and we always love hearing directly from you. We'll be watching, blogging, and tweeting about your Africa trip next week, as well as lighting candles, as we always do, for your safety and well-being.

Thank you so much for your wonderful service and for posting this re-cap. Be well.

Normita
|
California, USA
July 29, 2009

Normita in California writes:

Dear Secretary Clinton:

Thank you for your update on your travels. Your energy, courage and compassion in reaching out to millions of people around the globe are truly inspiring.

Our candles are lit with prayers for a safe and fruitful journey to the many villages, 'from sea to shining sea'.

Normita, a proud hillaryvillager

Eileen
|
California, USA
July 29, 2009

Eileen in California writes:

Please tell us when you will be visiting the Pacific Island Nations in particular those nations that do not benefit from being a U.S. territory like the Solomon Islands. There are many medical and economic issues that cannot be left to Australia alone to handle in the Solomon Islands one of the worst off of these southern pacific nations. Our country should partner with Australia in this region not cede responsibility to them. We should also separate Oceana from the Asia Pacific region. The economic, developmental and social issues in Oceana are very different than in China, Japan, India, Indonesia and Korea. By lumping these very disparate countries together in one geo-political region we do the small nations of Oceana a disservice. Let us hear the dates you will be visiting the South Pacific!

joe
|
Tennessee, USA
July 29, 2009

Joe in Tennessee writes:

It is important to the stability of Thailand to have a show of support from the United States, regardless of its extended future ties to Russia and China. the terrorism threat has been reduced since 2007 considerably.

nancy c.
|
California, USA
July 30, 2009

Nancy in California writes:

I wish you would come to California! How 'bout a vacation here in San Diego? Thanks Hillary for everything you do and continue to do for our country and the world! You are an amazing woman.

Cutter
|
New York, USA
July 30, 2009

Cutter in New York writes:

I can not thank you enough for you hard work. Do you sleep? Eat? I get that you truly engage the people you meet and send a clear message that the foreign policy has shifted to one of inclusiveness. You have now idea just how it felt to be from a country that for so long told everybody how to behave. Thank you again for you hard work.

Christian R.
|
Mexico
July 30, 2009

Christian R. in Mexico writes:

The Secretery Clinton is very pretty!

Giuseppe
|
Uruguay
July 31, 2009

Giuseppe in Uruguay writes:

I am a science and as a citizen of the global village, I accepted his invitation to "travel with us".I was also allowed to include it in my online publications on the telecommunications technology of the" New Era "and its debate:thanks for the sensitivity and pushing to science and technology particularly the High-Tech by putting her upside.

.

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