Kolkata, May 5 (IANS) As US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets West Bengal’s first woman Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Monday, discussions on foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail and India-Bangladesh ties are expected to be high on the agenda.
Clinton arrives for her second ever visit to Kolkata Sunday. She will meet Banerjee at the state secretariat the next day, with the illustrious Time Magazine listing them as two of the most influential people in the world.
Speculation is rife that Hillary – who is to meet Banerjee just a day after her meeting with Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina – would raise the issue of the Teesta Water Treaty between India and Bangladesh, which was sent into cold storage due to Banerjee’s opposition last year.
According to senior officials of the US administration, discussions over India-Bangladesh ties and trade ought to come up in the discussions as West Bengal will be the main beneficiary of strong India-Bangladesh ties.
The Teesta treaty was proposed to be signed during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s trip to Dhaka last year. But the signing was scrapped following Banerjee’s last minute opposition to the quantum of water to be shared with Bangladesh.
The issue of FDI in multibrand retail and other economic reforms are likely to come up at meeting. Discussions over US investment in West Bengal would also be on the discussion table.
“The visit may lead to increase in potential American investment in the state. This would be a good opportunity to discuss potential investment in fields like IT or biotech where land requirement is comparatively less,” said political analyst Sabyasachi Roychowdhury.
This will be Clinton’s second visit to the city after her presence at Mother Teresa’s funeral in 1997.
Security has been beefed up in the city including the state secretariat and the governor’s house.
Two Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) teams have visited both venues.
With a brush of new paint and colourful electrical lighting, the state secretariat is gearing up to welcome Clinton.
Street lamps in and around the Writers’ Buildings and governor’s house have been fitted with new bulbs.
–Indo-Asian News service