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Secretary of State Clinton Makes Kolkata Her First Stop in India

Secretary of State Clinton Makes Kolkata Her First Stop in India

Tags: clinton, sunday, bangladesh, bangladeshi, sanctions, government, officials, iranian, countries, grameen

 May 06, 2012

US Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton waves upon arrival in Kolkata, India, Sunday, May 6, 2012.

Photo: AP

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in India where she will urge New Delhi to reduce the oil it imports from sanctions-hit Iran.

Clinton arrived in Kolkata Sunday after visits to Bangladesh and China. She will head to New Delhi Monday to meet with top government officials.

India has made some reductions in its dependence on Iranian oil, but the South Asian nation has enormous energy needs stemming from its rapid growth. India is strongly critical of a U.S. law to impose sanctions on banks from countries that buy oil from Iran.  The U.S. and Western countries are penalizing Iran for its nuclear ambitions.

Clinton's Indian visit coincides with a visit from a large Iranian trade delegation.

Earlier Sunday in Bangladesh, Clinton told an audience at a public question-and-answer session in Dhaka that she supports the work of Grameen Bank and its founder, Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus.  Clinton said she does not want to see Yunus' work undermined by the Bangladeshi government.   

Clinton held a private meeting Sunday with Yunus, who was ousted as managing director of the pioneering micro-lender Grameen Bank last year in a retirement-age dispute.  Yunus is 71.  

On Saturday, the top U.S. diplomat met with Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and opposition leader Khaleda Zia.  

Bangladeshi officials have said they want to encourage more investment from the United States and would like to gain greater access to U.S. markets.  Clinton said for that to happen, Bangladesh must set aside its internal bickering, and end the related violence.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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