Meeting With Staff and Families of Embassy New Delhi

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Taj Palace Hotel
New Delhi, India
July 20, 2011

Thank you so much, Peter. I said, “Please make the introduction short.” (Applause.) People have come out here and I’m grateful to see you this morning, but I know that it’s a little challenging, but it is such a warm welcome, for which I am very grateful. And I want to thank Peter for his service, his return to service as chargé for the mission here in India, and also DCM Lu, who I know from Washington, and all of you, most importantly, Americans and Indians alike, along with all of your family members, husbands, wives, children, partners. You are so important to the work that we do in this relationship which is critical to both of our countries, and you contribute in so many ways.

This is, as you know, my second visit as Secretary of State. I’m delighted to be back to personally continue to broaden and deepen and strengthen the U.S.-India relationship. And I am also pleased to once again thank you, Foreign Service officers, civil servants, members of more than a dozen U.S. Government agencies, and the local staff who often make things happen because, as I like to say, secretaries come and go, ambassadors come and go, political officers, econ officers, PAOs. But the local staff stays and provides that continuous memory, experience, and expertise.

Many of you contributed greatly to this session of the U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue and I know it consumed a lot of your attention, but I also know that the other work, the day-to-day work, never stopped, not only on issues from trade and investment to energy, nonproliferation, counterterrorism, but also the day-to-day work of caring for Americans living and visiting India, providing visa services to Indian families, sending their children off to study in our country. You know from firsthand experience that the strength of our relationship is not always measured just in treaties signed or summits held, but in all the ways big and small that we improve people’s lives. And I know that in the aftermath of this latest attack in Mumbai, working with individuals standing up for the solid relationship we have against terrorism is absolutely essential.

I want to thank DCM Lu’s hard work on coordinating Mission India’s operations, upgrading our security, working with the Indian Government, overseeing our public statements. I want to thank Consulate General Mumbai for activating our emergency networks, contacting hospitals, foreign missions, and local authorities to account for missing Americans, and issuing an emergency message to all. This is really the kind of coolheaded, comprehensive approach that we’re looking for.

And finally, to the local staff, I really appreciate what you do. Some of you, I was just told, have been here since I started coming in the ‘90s, and so you have worked with me, with my daughter, with my husband, and then of course other distinguished American families, including presidents and presidential families. I want to take a minute to appreciate Guru Singh, who has worked here for 41 years. Where is Guru? Thank you, Guru. (Applause.) He started in 1970 as a clerk with the Library of Congress office here. That was only two years after Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon, so he has seen much happen here on earth.

And I want to also thank each and every one of you for making sure that we keep our mission up and running, safe and secure, our dedicated marines who protect us. Now, I know that all of that music and dancing at the Independence Day celebration just two weeks ago at the American Center threatened to give Slumdog Millionaire a run for its money, but I’m sure you have enough energy left to have a well-deserved wheels-up celebration when I’m finally out of your area of responsibility.

So again, thank you so much for everything you have done, are doing, and will do as we chart the way forward with our partner, friend, India. Thank you all. (Applause.)

PRN: 2011/T51-22