Clinton trip to cover only India, Thailand

July 15, 2009 at 7:00 AM
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NEW DELHI, July 15 (UPI) -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's India trip will seek an enhanced bilateral "strategic partnership" for global stability, the State Department said.

Clinton's five-day India visit starting Friday is her first such since assuming her post, but she has visited the country several times in the past. She will also visit Thailand.

Stressing the importance Clinton attaches to further strengthening Indo-U.S. relations, Indian media said her South Asia visit will only include India with no stopovers in Pakistan or Afghanistan. India in the past has resented the U.S. practice of clubbing or hyphenating India and Pakistan.

"I am sure that she will visit Afghanistan and Pakistan, but not on this visit. It is just to India and Thailand," State Department spokesman Ian Kelly told reporters Tuesday.

Press Trust of India reported Clinton is scheduled to arrive in Mumbai Friday before proceeding to New Delhi to meet with Indian Prime Minister Mammohan Singh and other leaders, including External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna.

In her talks with Krishna, Clinton "will discuss the structure and elements of an enhanced U.S.-India strategic partnership that will enable us to advance solutions to the defining challenges of our time and to enhance global prosperity and stability in the 21st century," Kelly said.

While addressing the U.S.-India Business Council last month in Washington, Clinton was quoted as saying she planned to usher in a new era of relations with India with a "dramatic expansion in our common agenda and a greater role for India, in solving global challenges," the Economic Times reported.

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