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Dhaka Tribune

Time for India to lead: An insight into Hillary Clinton’s world vision

Update : 13 Apr 2015, 06:32 PM

Hillary Clinton’s connection with India goes back a long way and the issues she has raised during her visits to the country over the past two decades have reflected her concerns about terrorism and economic development.

The 67-year-old Clinton, who announced her decision to run for the US presidency on Sunday, first visited India in 1995, when she was the US first lady, with her daughter Chelsea.

But it was during her stint as Secretary of State in Barack Obama’s first presidency during 2009-12 that she unveiled her vision of a larger role for India on the world stage. “It’s time to lead,” she said while addressing a meeting in Chennai in July 2011.

“Much of the history of the 21st century will be written in Asia which, in turn, will be influenced by the partnership between the US and India and its relationship with neighbours,” she said at the time.

In her memoir “Hard Choices,” Clinton said a key aspect of US policy during her stint as Secretary of State was bringing India “more fully into the Asian-Pacific political scene,” especially as a counterweight to China.

“Having another large democracy with a full seat at the table in the region could help encourage more countries to move toward political and economic openness, rather than follow China’s example of autocratic state capitalism,” she wrote.

Clinton made her first visit to India as the Secretary of State in the summer of 2009, months after the deadly terror attacks in Mumbai. In a show of solidarity with the people of India, she chose to stay in the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, one of the sites attacked by ten Pakistani terrorists who killed 166 people.

“By staying there and paying my respects at the memorial, I wanted to send the message that Mumbai was undeterred and open for business,” she wrote in her memoir.

Subsequently, she pushed Pakistan to prosecute those responsible for the Mumbai carnage. During a visit to Islamabad in October 2011, Clinton famously remarked at a news conference with then foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar: “You can’t keep snakes in your backyard and expect them only to bite your neighbors. 

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