NDTV's Barkha Dutt was one of six anchors across the world invited to
put questions to the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at a "Global
Townhall" held on Tuesday.
Here is the transcript of the interaction between
Ms Clinton and Barkha Dutt, who also moderated questions put to the
Secretary of State by young Indians. Watch the full interview
Secretary Clinton, good evening from India. It is an absolute pleasure to be talking with you again. We all remember that wonderful town hall with you in Kolkata on your last trip here to India. I have here with me a bunch of very bright young students, all itching to ask you a question, but before I take my microphone to the students, just by way of comment, Secretary Clinton, I know despite all your denials, all of us are waiting to see you back in political action in 2016, as possibly the United States' first women President. That is not a question, I'm just observing what we think might happen. Great to have you on the show, Secretary.
Good to see you again, thank you so much. Barkha Dutt:
I notice that you didn't answer that and we will try and get a little more out you...
That is why you such a good journalist, Barkha. Barkha Dutt:
Thank you and I will probe that a little further.
Good evening Ma'am, my question concerns the recent 'Richard' Headley case and the sentence that was handed over...
David Headley Student 1:
Sorry, David Headley case and the sentence that was handed out to him. Given that he had pleaded guilty to the conspiracy in the 26/11 attacks, why is America so hesitant to extradite him to India? Hillary Clinton:
Well that is not directly under my jurisdiction, but I will say this, that there was an intensive amount of investigation and interrogation of him by Indian authorities, as well as American authorities. A lot of useful information was obtained and I think this sentence represents both the punishment that he richly deserved for his participation, but also a recognition of the role he has played, and is expected to continue to play, in supporting Indian and American efforts to prevent the kind of horrific attack that occurred in Mumbai. Barkha Dutt:
Secretary Clinton, if I can just pick up on that question by this young boy here, I know when we were doing the town hall in Kolkata, you assured Indians that it was you who had cleared the $10 million bounty on Hafiz Saeed's head, who, as you know, is a key architect of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, the terrorist group. You also talked about Al-Zawahiri being in Pakistan according to your information. I know a lot of people in India want to know from you tonight, when you look back your terms, are you satisfied with the success that you were able to achieve in bringing the perpetrators of 26/11 to justice, or are you left with a sense of regret? Are you left with the sense that more could have been done and somehow you did not have enough time, or you weren't able to put enough pressure on Pakistan to get it done? Hillary Clinton:
Barkha, I think it is unfinished business that we are not in any way walking away from. I'm leaving office but I can assure you and the Indian people that this remains one of our very highest priorities. We were successful in capturing and eliminating a number of the most dangerous terrorists who have safe haven inside Pakistan. We have continued to press the Pakistani Government, because of course the terrorists inside Pakistan are first and foremost an ongoing threat to the stability of Pakistan, and they need to deal with it because of that, as well as implications for India, Afghanistan, United States and elsewhere.
I also think that the efforts that both Prime Minister Singh and President Zardari in Pakistan have made to improve communication, business, trade, commerce between India and Pakistan helps to create a more receptive environment for dealing with these serious threats.
So of course I'm not satisfied, you know, as I told you in Kolkata, that I believe going after terrorism is an obligation of every country everywhere, every sensible person. We can have disagreements, but there cannot be in any way using violence or condoning the use of violence. We are not giving up, we are on this job literally every single day, and we have improved our information sharing, our law enforcement cooperation with India and I think that will pay dividends in years to come.
As you must know that we have been seeing street protests by young students here related to the horrific gang rape that took place in Delhi recently, and gender rights are really on the top of public consciousness here in India, so the question from this young boy... Student 2:
My question to you is why is it that women in politics, even in supposedly progressive societies like the US, have to conform to masculinist and privileged constructions of a statesman and the public sphere, and I must ask you how difficult is it for a women politician to access a political space that is heavily gendered, and that dictates how a women leader has to behave and conduct herself?
That could be a topic for a whole show because it is a profound question, but let me make two brief points. First, although it is better than it was, having been in and around politics for many years now, there is still a double standard, and it is a double standard that exists in the trivial, like what you wear to the incredibly serious like women cannot vote, women cannot run for office, women are not supposed to be in the public sphere. But there is a spectrum of the double standard and of the both legal and cultural barriers for respect for women, for participation of women. So we do have years to go and even in democracies and in a democracy like yours, unlike mine, that had a women leader and has a women as the head of the current governing party, where women who have achieved a lot of political success, there is still a tremendous amount of discrimination and just outright abuse of women, particularly uneducated women, women who cannot stand for themselves. But clearly, as we saw in the terrible gang rape, a woman trying to better herself, go to school.
Secondly, this has been the cause of my life and will continue to be as I leave the Secretary of State Office, because we are hurting ourselves. You know the young woman who essentially was raped and then died of the terrible injuries, who knows, she could have contributed to India's future. When you put barriers in the way of half the population, you, in effect, are putting breaks on your own developments as a nation and there is more than adequate research to prove this. But just in a personal, everyday life example, I'm looking at one of the leading journalists of the world, certainly one of the leading journalists in India, Barkha, she brings to her job her experiences that then infuse the coverage that she provides, and if you lose that kind of perspective, you are really doing a disservice to your society.
I personally was very encouraged and even proud to see young men and young women out on the street, protesting the way that your women are treated by men who do not understand or have never been taught to accept that it is not just their sisters and mothers that they should respect, but all girls and women. So I'm looking for big changes in India in years to come.