In Chennai, Clinton to amplify on India’s global role

July 19th, 2011 - 9:33 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 19 (IANS) Hailing India as “a global leader,” US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will unveil Washington’s view of New Delhi’s growing regional and international role when she heads to Chennai, the bustling southern metropolis which is the the hub of growing American investment.

“There was a time when India’s role as a leading nation was discussed as something that would happen at some point in the distant future. But that is no longer the case,” Clinton said here after her wide-ranging strategic dialogue with External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna here Tuesday.

“India is a global leader. And the United States wholeheartedly supports this development and sees great benefits in our growing partnership,” she stressed.

Alluding to new initiatives like the trilateral forum the US is establishing with India and Japan, Clinton said the US has favored of a stronger role for India in forums like the G-20 and looked forward “to a reformed UN Security Council that includes India as a permanent member”.

“I’ll speak at greater length about our view on India’s role in the region and world tomorrow in Chennai. My point today is this: India’s rise is directly connected to what we are working to achieve through this dialogue,” she said.

Clinton will be the first US Secretary of State to visit Chennai, the bustling capital of Tamil Nadu which is opening to the world and is attracting greater American investment. She will elaborate on the US’ vision of India’s growing global profile in an address to university students.

Fifty years ago, John Kenneth Galbraith, the then ambassador to India, visited Chennai, and was said to be quite impressed by quiet charm and entrepreneurial energy of the city.

When she visited India in July 2009, Clinton went to Mumbai. This time, Chennai has been chosen to signal the US’ desire to get greater market access for American companies.

Tamil Nadu is home to over 100 American companies which have investments straddling sectors such as IT, automotive and auto components, heavy engineering, telecom and manufacturing. Iconic American brands like Ford, Cognizant, Caterpillar, Motorola, IFF, Dell, Borgwarner, Verizon and Sanmina SCI have set up base in the state and are thriving.

The US consulate in Chennai hands out the highest number of US visas issued in India. In 2010, it issued 142,565 non-immigrant visas in 2010, the highest among the five US consulates in India.

Clinton is expected to meet Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa and discuss ways to expand trade and investment. The situation in Sri Lanka and the alleged human rights violations during the war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) may figure in the discussions.

In an interview, US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia Robert Blake, a former US envoy to Sri Lanka, said: “Obviously, the 60 million people who live in Tamilnadu have a lot of concerns about the situation in Sri Lanka. This will be a section of the discussion when the secretary meets the chief minister.”

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