Remarks at Taj Palace Hotel

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Mumbai, India
July 18, 2009

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good morning. It is a great honor and personal delight for me to be back in India. It’s a country that I admire greatly and that I have had an extraordinary set of experiences in. It’s a country that’s had a deep impact on my thinking about the most serious issues confronting our world today. And so it is a real privilege to return as Secretary of State.


Over the next few days, I will be working on behalf of President Obama and the American people to strengthen the important strategic relationship between the United States and India for the 21st century. I will be meeting with government officials in New Delhi to broaden and deepen our efforts to work more effectively together on issues ranging from economic growth and development, to climate change, to education and healthcare, to nonproliferation and counterterrorism.

The alleviation of poverty, which I know is a central goal of the Indian Government and the Indian people is one that we will offer to help with in any way that we could be. President Obama and I believe we are entering a new and even more promising era of relations with India, and we are looking forward to working to broaden and deepen our partnership.

Expanded dialogue between our governments is essential and exciting. But the strength of this partnership ultimately rests on the deep and enduring ties between the Indian and the American people. In a speech this week in Washington, I said the problems of the 21st century demand a new mindset and a willingness to create partnerships with government, but also beyond government, with NGOs, with businesses, with the people themselves. The world’s problems are too complex for anything less.

I just finished an exciting meeting with India business leaders to discuss how we can tap into Indian and American innovations and entrepreneurship, to spread prosperity more broadly across our societies, and to work together to solve common problems. After this press conference, I will go to a gathering of women from SEWA, the Self Employed Women’s Association, an organization that I have been privileged to work with for about 15 years now. It’s an organization that has helped to transform lives and communities in India and it provides a model for bringing women from the margins of society to the center of their communities and (inaudible).

I will then join (inaudible) Khan for a discussion with students about education and service, and I’m sure he will be the main attraction for that. And tomorrow, I will be meeting scientists and innovators involved in green energy and agricultural production to talk about how the United States and India can work together to lead an effective fight against global hunger, and to move to a clean energy future.

Let me also say that on a personal note, I was deeply touched to visit with the staff of both the Taj and the (inaudible) hotels earlier this morning, and to pay my respects at the memorial to last November’s attack. As you know, this hotel and this city suffered grievously and endured painful losses because of the extremism and violence visited (inaudible). The great men and women who work in this hotel and elsewhere in the city courageously stood in the face of senseless violence and helped to stay by and prevent greater damage and harm to others. They deserve our gratitude.

As the events of 26/11 unfolded, the American people stood in solidarity with the Indian people, just as India supported America after 9/11. These events are seared in our collective memory. Yesterday’s bombings in Jakarta, Indonesia provide a painful reminder that the threat of such violent extremism is still very real. It is global, it is ruthless, it is nihilistic, and it must be stopped.

The United States will work with the Indian Government, the Indonesian Government, and other nations and people who seek peace and security to confront and defeat these violent extremists. And we will do our utmost to create a world of opportunity where there is more space for progress, peace and prosperity, and less space for intolerance, violence and hate.

Being here in India today to talk about democracy, defense and development issues is critical to the future that we seek not only for India and America, but for the world. We’re delighted that you will soon get to know our new ambassador. Tim Roemer, former congressman, a leader on issues having to do with terrorism in our country, and a very committed advocate of development, will be serving our nation here and yours.

We face a lot of challenges, but I am convinced that together, we are more than ready to meet those challenges, sharing our common interests, our common values, and a common stake in the 21st century. If we are now prepared to turn our common interests and cooperative actions, and I believe we are, then we will succeed not only for the Indian and American people, but for the world that we hope to create for our children. Thank you all very much.

MR. KELLY: The Secretary will take some questions. The first question from Lachlan Carmichael (inaudible).

SECRETARY CLINTON: He will call on people. Okay.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary --

SECRETARY CLINTON: Would you stand up?

QUESTION: Yeah. Madame Secretary, there is uproar in India over apparent concessions that the Indians made to Pakistan, providing peace for India even though the perpetrators have not been brought to justice who also committed the Mumbai attacks. Do you fear that this will – you will (inaudible) the United States adding to the pressure on India to make these concessions?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I would not speak for the Indian Government. I think that India is a sovereign nation fully capable and prepared to protect her own interests, to stand up for the rights and security of her own people. And we are very supportive of the steps that India has taken to try to stand against terrorism.

Clearly, any decision that is made between the governments of India and Pakistan to begin talking together to explore the very difficult issues between them is up to those governments. And I think that the United States, as you know, is very supportive of steps that the governments take, but we are not in any way involved in it or promoting any particular position. We respect the sovereignty of the decisions that lie in the hands of the Indian Government.

MR. KELLY: The next question, (inaudible). Wait for the microphone.


QUESTION: (Inaudible) Indian (inaudible), and with regards to this meeting with (inaudible) and especially in India (inaudible)?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I am very impressed by Indian women, and I have, as you said, been involved with a number of worthy agents that have worked in India over the years to promote economic opportunity and greater choices in the lives of women here in India. I think an enormous amount of progress has been made. I’m looking forward to seeing old friends when I go to SEWA to be brought up to date about the expansion of their work.

But clearly, for me, it is absolutely undeniable that the progress of women is directly linked to the progress of any country. The more women have the same rights, the education, the healthcare, to employment and access to credit, a role in making decisions in their families and their communities, the more quickly development for all people will proceed.

And so the progress that has been made is extraordinary, and I know there is still much more to be done. It is a priority of your government to create more literacy among women, more opportunities for the women of India. And I personally, as well as in my position as Secretary of State, will do whatever I can to support and promote that development.

MR. KELLY: The next question to Arshad Mohammed, Reuters.

QUESTION: Secretary Clinton, I understand that in your meeting with the executives this morning, the issue of climate change came up. Two things: One, how is it that you envisage creating (inaudible) control carbon emissions that will allow countries like India and China to continue to grow and create jobs for their populations?

Secondly, one of the executives, who is the head of Reliance, which I understand is one of the companies involved in exporting (inaudible) petroleum products to Iran – as you know, there’s (inaudible) on Capitol Hill in the possibility of using those exports as a lever against the Iranians if they don’t come back to the talks.

Do you expect to raise that, where – what kind of pushback do you expect to get, given that that’s an important piece of business for this country?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Arshad, first, let me say that the discussion we had about climate change and clean energy was extremely productive. And the point that was made, which we underscore and believe in completely, is that there is no inherent contradiction between poverty eradication and moving toward a low-carbon economy. The United States wants to see India continue to progress in its development in lifting millions and millions of more people out of poverty and providing greater opportunity for people to pursue their own dreams. And that is something that they would not expect any country to turn away from.

Our point is very simple: That we acknowledge, now with President Obama, that we have made mistakes – the United States – and we, along with other developed countries, have contributed most significantly to the problems that we face with climate change. We are hoping that a great country like India will not make the same mistakes. And just as India went, from a few years ago, having very few telephones to now having more than 500 million mostly cell phones by leapfrogging over the infrastructure that we built for telephone service, we believe India is innovative and entrepreneurial enough to figure out how to deal with climate change while continuing to lift people out of poverty and develop at a rapid rate.

Obviously, these decisions are up to the people of India, but the private sector, based on our conversations, is looking for economic opportunities in clean energy and looking for ways to figure out how to move toward low-carbon energy production. So we’re going to be engaged in these conversations. Todd Stern, as you know, our Climate Change Envoy, is here with me. He’ll be having a number of in-depth discussions with people in both the private and the public sector in the next several days. So we are well aware of the challenges that India faces, but we think that there are some very creative approaches to this that we’re sharing.

And we did not discuss your second matter, and that’s something that we will look at later.

MR. KELLY: (Inaudible.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, you may be walking with cameras, I’m not sure. Is he walking with cameras?

MR. KELLY: Yeah.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, you have to sit down, (inaudible.)

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, (inaudible) when you said that you weren’t happy and satisfied with what – the action that Pakistan is taking against terror. But (inaudible) with the Taliban, because there is a lot of sense going on the visit – there hasn’t been too much done (inaudible) the Lashkar, neither of the Jaish. And also, do you really feel that Pakistan (inaudible) perpetrators of 26/11 to India?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I believe based on what we have seen in the last six months, which is what I’m speaking – based upon, there has been a much greater effort and commitment that is not only at the governmental level, but much more free society to take on the terrorists. And I believe that there is a concerted effort that we can look to and see the results from.

It is too early to tell the outcome of this commitment that we see coming from Pakistan. I also believe that in the next few days, there will be a greater awareness of whether or not there will be a commitment to bring the Mumbai terrorists to heal and hopefully to justice.

You raised the questions about other terrorist organizations that are focused on India. Clearly, we believe that they have to be rooted out, that they must be defeated and dismantled, and we have made that very clear and we will continue to do so.

MR. KELLY: The next question goes to (inaudible).

QUESTION: Thanks, Madame Secretary. We wanted to ask you about any certainty that on Monday, there will be an agreement for the so-called end user monitoring agreement that would allow major U.S. defense contracts to go through and other related agreements that will be necessary in order for more U.S. defense contractors to do more business here.

And also, could you tell us a little about the strategic economic dialogue that you’re planning and how that would differ from the SED that already exists with China?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first, we are working very hard to finalize a number of agreements. I am optimistic that we will get such agreements resolved and announced, but I don’t want to step on the news from that. We are working very hard. I think that’s the bottom line.

Secondly, we see the dialogue that we are going to be embarking on with India to be extremely important. It will have five pillars. It is – it’s comprehensive, it goes across the areas of strategic cooperation, agriculture, education, healthcare, science and technology. It is just as broad a dialogue as you can imagine. And we’re very much looking forward to not just announcing it, but to getting to work on it. We came out of the meeting with the business and industrial executives this morning with a long list of tasks that we’re going to be following up on.

We talked about increasing agricultural productivity, about trying to provide micronutrients to infants so that they would not have any lapses in nutrition that might undermine their physical and mental development. We talked about the need for clean energy, for better cooperation between our universities, for working with – between our pharmaceutical industries to enhance the production of life-saving drugs.

I mean, we had such a broad discussion, it was just a snapshot of what we think our organized dialogue will be. We are looking to enhance our relationship with India at a time when I think it is so important to focus on problem solving. We’re beyond just talking about problems; now we want to link up in ways that will help us solve those problems. And I think there’s a great willingness on the part of not just the Indian Government, but the Indian private sector, NGOs, and others to work with us, and we’re looking forward to that.

MR. KELLY: And the last question (inaudible) from (inaudible) news.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) United States going to persuade Pakistan in its fight against terror to hand over particularly (inaudible) and terrorists right now (inaudible) India? And is there any – the United States deciding India – who is (inaudible) fight Pakistan (inaudible)?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, again, the discussion between India and Pakistan is between India and Pakistan. There has to be a very clear understanding that we respect the right of India to make decisions that India decides are in the best interests of the Indian people. I’m focused on the India-West relationship. That is the relationship that we can influence and that we are looking forward to working on. And clearly, we will be speaking with our Indian counterparts over the next several days about how better to tackle the threat of terrorism.

So we have a great sense of solidarity and sympathy, having gone through what we did on 9/11. We know how important – we are fighting wars to end the threat of terrorism against us, our friends and allies around the world. So we are very committed to working with India to make sure that together, we are effective. There are different ways of doing that. Some, we will do together. Some, India will decide how best to do on their own.

But the bottom line for me is that our government is committed in the fight against terrorism. And we expect everyone with whom we have relations and who we see as being part of a future world that we take in what we’re building together to take strong action to prevent terrorism from taking root on their soil, to making sure that terrorists are not trained and deployed. And we believe that around the world, not with any one particular country, but every one. And that’s what we are working toward, and we will work in whatever way is determined to be useful from an Indian perspective to be of service.

Thank you all very much.

PRN: 2009/T9-1