We’ll be happy if Hillary visits Kolkata: Mamata

Kolkata, April 27: With US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton scheduled to visit Kolkata May 7, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Friday said she was happy that Hillary was visiting the city.

“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.

Clinton is coming to India May 7-8 ahead of the US-India Strategic Dialogue in Washington in June which she and India’s Minister of External Affairs S.M. Krishna will jointly chair.

The surprise announcement Wednesday of Clinton’s decision to visit India after the fourth round of US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Beijing May 3-4 was seen as an attempt to iron out differences over potentially contentious issues such as Iran’s nuclear programme before the June 13 dialogue.

Clinton’s visit is also considered significant as it comes right after her high-level talks in China and ahead of the crucial mid-May NATO summit in Chicago which will focus on Afghanistan, where Washington recognises the constructive role India has played.

Clinton, who will first visit Bangladesh before reaching India, will stop over in Kolkata May 7 before coming to New Delhi, and meet Mamata Banerjee and representatives of civil society organisations.

IANS