From Dipu Moni to Clinton, Kolkata geared up for VVIP visits

Kolkata, April 29: The West Bengal capital is all geared up for according a warm welcome to a host of international VVIPs who are slated to visit it in a short span of time, beginning with Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dipu Moni, and including US Ambassador to India Nancy J. Powell, Britain’s Prince Andrew and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Moni arrived in the city Sunday to receive the prestigious Mother Teresa award. She has been nominated for the award for social work and administration.

Though Moni does not have any scheduled meeting with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the possibility of an unscheduled meeting between the two cannot be ruled out.

Her visit will be followed by that of Powell – the first woman head of the US mission in India – who is slated to meet Banerjee here Monday. Her visit is said to be crucial as it comes just days ahead of Clinton’s visit.

Next of the list is Britain’s Prince Andrew who will arrive in the city from New Delhi Tuesday.

The prince, who will be in the country to represent Queen Elizabeth II in the year of her Diamond Jubilee, will be on a week-long visit to further enhance ties with India in diverse areas including defence and trade.

He is also slated to visit Women’s Interlink Foundation (WIF), a NGO working with women and underprivileged children in the city.

The last but undoubtedly the most important visitor will be Clinton who is likely to arrive in the city April 7. Her visit comes ahead of the US-India Strategic Dialogue in Washington co-chaired by her and External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna.

Banerjee had expressed her happiness over Clinton’s visit.

“Being a person of the government I cannot say anything right now. I have read about her scheduled visit to the city. We will be very happy if she visits Kolkata. We want everybody (representative of various countries) to visit our state. Earlier, representatives from Singapore, China and other countries visited our state,” Banerjee told reporters here.

The city administration has made elaborate arrangements for the safety and security of the dignitaries.

“Elaborate security arrangements will be on place for the high profile visitors right from their arrival to their departure,” said a senior Kolkata police officer.

IANS