Kolkata: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in the Writers’ building here on Monday.

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“The meeting was very constructive,” Banerjee told mediapersons after the crucial meet.

The Chief Minister said that the US Secretary lauded the new government in West Bengal and expressed desire to build healthy business ties with the state.


“Clinton said that the US is interested in investing in Bengal and will help the states in carrying several development projects here,” said the Chief Minister.

She said that the areas identified for US investment were IT, software sector, manufacturing, deep sea port, tourism, health care and education.

"They will give full support for economic and business development," Banerjee said, adding that Chief Secretary Samar Ghosh and US Ambassador Nancy Powell would coordinate and monitor the progress.


When asked about discussions on Teesta treaty and FDI in retail issue, she said, “The water issue and the FDI were not discussed in the meet.”

"There were no talks about Teesta (water-sharing with Bangladesh). There were no talks on FDI in retail. No nuclear or strategic issues were discussed," Banerjee told reporters in reply to a volley of questions.

The meeting with Mamata, the first such exercise by any US secretary of state, is considered important as the Trinamool chief had effectively stalled the UPA government's efforts last year to bring in FDI in retail.

Clinton welcomed the political change in the state after 34 years and expressed her happiness at the implementation of programmes taken up.

"We discussed many issues. She congratulated us. Clinton appreciated our passion of work and implementation of programmes."

"My boundary is limited. I am a small person," the Chief Minister said when asked if strategic issues and nuclear issues were discussed.

She said that she had informed Clinton that the situation in the Darjeeling Hills and Junglemahal was normal now.

"There were some problems in Darjeeling and Junglemahal when we came to power. Now it is settled and peace has been restored."

Taking pride in Clinton's visit, she said, "This is a matter of pride that a US secretary of state has come and talked to us here for the first time after independence.

"We are all happy and we think that West Bengal should be a destination for investment. This is not my credit but the victory of the Ma, Mati, Manush (Mother, Land and people)," she said.

Stating that she laid stress on the development of the entertainment industry, she sought a joint endeavour to promote Bengal's entertainment industry along with Hollywood and Bollywood.

"Clinton said they will discuss and let us know," the Chief Minister said.

She told the US secretary of state that that Shahrukh Khan was the brand ambassador for West Bengal and frequently visited the US to which Clinton replied that he was very popular in the US and had fans there.


The Chief Minister said that Clinton gifted her a mat with Tagore's picture embossed on it with a line from his song 'aguner parashmoni chhoaon prane' inscribed on it.

Banerjee also sought Clinton's cooperation to hold a world youth festival to commemorate Swami Vivekananda's address at the Chicago world religious festival where he had addressed the gathering as 'brothers and sisters of America'.

"She told me that she will speak to the Mayor of Chicago and let me know," Banerjee said.

Banerjee said that if possible, President Barack Obama should come to such a programme here as also Clinton and her daughter Chelsea.

The Chief Minister presented Clinton a scarf from Santiniketan, an English translation of Tagore's Gitanjali, a copy of Gitabitan, the collected work of Swami Vivekananda and a book on Sri Ramakrishna brought from the Belur Math.

In the most high-profile visit of a foreign dignitary to Kolkata in recent times, Hillary arrived in the city on Sunday.


Soon after holding the meeting with Mamata, Hillary left for New Delhi to meet India’s top brass including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi.

As per top sources, issues concerning cross-border terrorism, South China Sea dispute, Iran nuclear programme and US-Indo economic ties are some of the crucial agendas likely to be discussed in the meetings.

Meanwhile, the sources also claimed that India may seek clarification from Clinton on the 10 million 'bounty call' on Hafeez Saeed.

Notably, Hillary’s visit is dubbed as crucial as it comes ahead of the strategic dialogue in United States.

Clinton is on three-day visit to India.


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