Hillary Clinton visits Kolkata school

Last Updated: Mon, May 07, 2012 05:08 hrs

Kolkata: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday visited a school in Kolkata for an interaction with students ahead of her meeting with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Students from a number of schools and colleges in Kolkata assembled at the La Martiniere school for interacting with Clinton over the course of a some-50-minute-long programme, officials from the American Centre in Kolkata said.

Heavy security arrangements were in place for the State Secretary's visit, that had not been announced earlier, with Kolkata Police and the U.S. Secret Service taking helm of securing the south-central city district.

From Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail to the contentious Teesta water treaty with Bangladesh and US investments in West Bengal, Clinton is likely to discuss several issues with Mamata Banerjee on Monday.

Banerjee, the leader of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) party that defeated a over-three-decade long rule of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) in state elections last year, could also discuss the political state of affairs in West Bengal, local reports said.

Setting in motion her India visit, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived Kolkata on Sunday to spend the first two days of her three-day trip in this eastern city and began by savouring a slice of the metropolis.

Arriving in a special US air force aircraft from Bangladesh, Clinton landed in Kolkata at around 1255 pm and then then left for Taj Bengal Hotel, where she is staying during her Kolkata trip.

Around 4 pm she headed for the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) centre near the US Consulate and watched a cultural programme presented by the girls who are victims of trafficking.

Then in the evening she went to the Victoria Memorial, the city's landmark marble memorial to Queen Victoria built in 1921 and which houses some rare paintings of yesteryears in its exhibition halls.

US security officials had almost taken over the city prior to the visit of Clinton and during her movements.

While Victoria Memorial campus itself was closed for the common people for Clinton's visit, traffic on several roads along the route of Clinton was regulated.

In Kolkata, a heavy cloak of security was thrown for the visit of Hillary Clinton who would meet Mamata Banerjee at state secretariat Writers' Building on Monday for 45 minutes.

Hillary, whose Kolkata visit preceded a visit to Bangladesh, is likely to discuss with Mamata Banerjee issues like Teesta water treaty and FDI in mult-brand retail, something that Banerjee had opposed.

Mamata Banerjee had also opposed the Teesta river water sharing arrangement with Bangladesh.

Hillary can take an initiative in bettering the relationships between Kolkata and Dhaka.

Hillary is also likely to discuss the issue of American investment in West Bengal with Mamata Banerjee, who according to Time magazine is one of the 100 most influential people of the globe.

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