Hillary meets PM, Mamata; US says FDI discussed

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.

According to sources, Hillary further called for speedy action against the perpetrators of the 26/11 attack.

While the US said that Hillary discussed FDI in retail with Mamata, the TMC maintained that the issue was not taken up.Before her meeting with the Prime Minister, Hillary met Mamata Banerjee earlier on Monday and promised more US investment in West Bengal.

Though Mamata has denied they discussed Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in retail, US officials maintained that the issue was discussed.

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.

The state government, however, said Clinton did not mention FDI in retail during her interaction with the chief minister.

“I would like to state on behalf of West Bengal government that the US Secretary of State did not mention FDI in retail when speaking to the chief minister.

“There was no further discussion on this specific subject at all,” state Finance Minister Amit Mitra said in a communication to the US consul-general in Kolkata Dean Thompson, a copy of which was released to the press tonight.

“I urge you unequivocally and strongly that the mention of investment in retail sector be avoided in your press statement,” Mitra said.

The chief minister, while briefing reporters at Writers’ Buildings after her meeting with Clinton, said that FDI in retail sector and Teesta water sharing issues did not figure in the discussion.

“Let me tell you very clearly that Teesta, no. FDI in retail, no. They did not raise them, nor were they discussed. Only development issues were discussed,” the chief minister said responding to persistent queries from reporters.

Meanwhile, sources have said that India will raise the issue of US flip flop on Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed when Hillary meets Foreign Minister S M Krishna on Tuesday.

Source: IBN Live


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