Kolkata: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata to explore investment opportunities in the state. Before the meeting, Mrs Clinton was at a session at the La Martiniere School for Girls meeting with a cross-section of the people of Kolkata. The session was moderated by NDTV's Group Editor Barkha Dutt.
Here's the full transcript of the session:
NDTV: We have a very exciting and important guest. Our guest this morning seems to, when she is not in Washington DC, be living in an aeroplane and I am not joking. You know how many miles she has clocked since she took up as secretary of state in year 2009? Any guesses guys? I bet you can't guess. More than 700 thousand miles. Actually someone over there almost got it right. That worked out or was that somebody from the staff? That is cheating guys, right? That's cheating guys. More than 700 thousand miles, 95 countries that works out to 25 trips around the globe and yet not even once does she show any sign of flagging energy. In fact as she arrives in India making Kolkata her first stop she has just completed two other important visit to other countries. China first, then Bangladesh and now, of course, here in India. As an old friend, she is one of the most influential women anywhere in the world. A Gallup poll in the United States of America has consistently called her the most admired woman in the United States for more than a decade. And I know as Indians how excited we are to welcome her to our country today and of course the people of Kolkata to welcome her to her first stop in India which is Kolkata. We are going to have a very exciting conversation this morning. It is my privilege and honour to welcome to India and to the stage Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Let's have a huge round of applause.
Hillary Clinton: Thank you, it is so wonderful to be here with all you and I want to thank Barkha Dutt for willing to moderate our discussion, and everyone at NDTV and La Martiniere. This is very exciting for me to have this chance to be back in this vibrant city after a number of years. I was last here in 1997 honouring the life and work of Mother Teresa and I am thrilled to see all the dynamism of both Kolkata and West Bengal has thrived. So here we are in the economic and innovation hub of eastern India and I just want to make a few comments before we have chance for a conversation. I wanted to do this because certainly for me the work that I do every single day, the miles that fly are trying to see what all of us are together can be doing to bring peace and prosperity to world because most of the world's population are young people, that's true in India but that's also true in most places in the east, particularly in Asia, South and East Asia. So it's truly about what you want for your future and the relationship between our two democracies is going to help to determine the kind of future that we have. As President Obama told the Indian Parliament, the relationship between India and United states will be one of those defining partnerships of the 21st century. Why, because we are united by bedrock beliefs of freedom, democracy, pluralism and opportunity and also our economies are interdependent. When I first visited India in 1995, trade between our countries was about nine billion dollars. Today, it is more than a 100 billion dollars and that makes a difference in the lives of people in both countries. I was talking with some friends here last night and they were referencing about the jobs and opportunities created by the Pepsi, Frito-Lay plants here and how it is not only for the people working in the plant but also the farmers whose incomes are going up because they have guaranteed contracts for their products so there is a lot of progress but we always think that more can be made to reduce barriers, open markets to greater trade and investment. Economic reforms from manufacturing to retail can spark growth, create jobs and lower prices for consumers in both countries. Increasingly our strategic interests are also aligned. India is a regional and increasingly a global power recognized by its economic, diplomatic and military influence and India is taking on more responsibility which is good news. Because the international community cannot solve our shared problems, for example nuclear proliferation and climate change, unless we are all working together, unless the leading countries are taking the steps necessary for finding solutions. I think here in Kolkata you have always been at the forefront of India's engagement with the world. I know this city sometimes is called the Gateway to the East and recently India's look east policy will be important for the growth of India and also for the Asia-Pacific region. I have just come from Bangladesh where there is great hope and excitement about trade and economic opportunities with India, with Burma, with the markets of south east Asia. I think because of India's democracy India stands in a strong position to help the people of Burma as they look at a way to navigate their way forward with political and economic reforms. Prior to that I was in China where we are building a constructive relationship not only bilaterally but also among our three countries. In fact, the trilateral consultation between China, India and the United States will be essential for us in the future as well. But really, at the heart of our relationship is the people to people relationship. The thousands and thousands of visits every year, the incredible contributions of Indian Americans in my country in every walk of life increasingly in all the political grounds. I checked the statistics in 2011, 35 per cent of the L1 work visas that the United States issued in the entire world were to Indians. And between 2010 and 2011 we saw an increase in 24 per cent in H1B work visas and more than one hundred thousand Indian students are studying in the Unites States. There are so many links between us and we want to promote even more between the young people of our two countries. I think it is appropriate to quote from Tagore, we always quote from Tagore not only in West Bengal but in many other places as well. I discovered him when I was in college and I have been a fan ever since. One of the quotes I liked when I was your age and I like now when I am my age is "Age considers, youth ventures". Since India is home to more than four hundred million young people - a remarkable generation, innovative, entrepreneurial, tolerant, connected to each other. I am hoping you will venture not only in your own future but also the future of this great country and venture to make the partnership between India and United States stronger. Under my direction we are starting youth councils in all our embassies and our consulates across the world. Here in Kolkata we have particularly active group and we would love to have even more people involved. So with that I am looking forward to the conversations and I think it's fair to say that I have probably been asked everything in my long life and public life so please feel free with Barkha possibly to have a real conversation with the time we are together. Thank you all.
NDTV: Thank you, alright just before we get the ball rolling we will get the podium off stage, we will get the secretary all miked up. It was interesting to hear her say that she has been asked every question possible, so are we going to surprise her today?
Audience question: We are. NDTV: She is going to walk away with certain questions she has never been asked before.
Hillary Clinton: What a challenge, a woman who loves a challenge.
NDTV: Secretary Clinton, thank you so much for your remarks and welcome to India and Kolkata once again. And before we set the ball rolling I am going to share with you something that somebody from this state characterized us Indians as economist and Nobel laureate Amartya Sen did. He said there is one definition which fits us Indians and that is 'Argumentative Indians' and Indians are argumentative but, my God, Bengalis are very argumentative and very opinionated, right? So hope you are ready with volleys of questions coming your way. But before we start today's conversation I want to draw your attention, the attention of our audience here and attention of our viewers to something that we forget. Even though you have had a long relationship with India, now 17 years, sometimes we forget that in fact it was not your husband Bill Clinton as president who came to India first but you as first lady. We are going to show you a picture in 1995 with Chelsea in front of the Taj Mahal. An extraordinary picture, then Chelsea was just 15 then, just a 15-year-old kid with her mom at the Taj Mahal. And you have always reached out not only to politicians but also to the civil society groups. There you are in 1995 with Ela Bhatt, the founder of SEVA. On that trip you learnt how to tie and dye. Got to ask you how often did you do that after you left? Tie and dye from block printing, that was Secretary Clinton's first visit. In Kolkata a long association with somebody we love, miss and admire - Mother Teresa. Your first visit here in a little bit of tragic circumstances, a funeral and a tribute to Mother Teresa in the year 1997 when you were here first on a happier occasion. Today of course, in the year 2012, a long relationship across political dispensations that Prime Minister Vajpayee at the White House, Sonia Gandhi whom you have known over the years, different moments, great photograph, I love that photograph. Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj, you made friends across political parties. You like shaking a leg, don't you? You make a point to do that on every trip. But here's the thing - as you say goodbye or namaste, every Indian meal that's coming up leaves you on a diet of carrots and celeries for the next many weeks.
Hillary Clinton: That's very true.
NDTV: That was a flashback but I got to ask you, we are hoping that you got to tuck into a hearty Indian meal. How many carrots and celeries coming up in the next few weeks?
Hillary Clinton: I go to Delhi from here so probably after I reach home, it will be at least a week of carrots and celeries. And me, my husband and I have such great personal affection for India maybe we are a little argumentative ourselves from time to time but also the extraordinary dynamism and the thrill of being in the country now. It's a little difficult actually getting out and around as the first lady you are as the secretary of state. We have really tried to break through the official boundaries. Yesterday, for example, we met these extraordinary young women that have been rescued from sex trade by a variety of organizations here in West Bengal. Just to have a chance to hear their stories to hear about their lives helps to do the work that I do on an official level; on a broader perspective because for me whether at the end of the day those of us who are in these positions have made life better for people. We have had a great experience, travelling, visiting, meeting people. But that's not why I do this work. I think most people who care about their own country or even more broadly about global possibilities know that there is a lot of anxiety and insecurity the world is going through in many places. Uncertainty of what the economy is going to be like. I think we have an obligation to do as much as we can and the time we have to serve.
NDTV: I think you have made it a point and the pictures told the story to step out of the protocol of formality, to meet all sorts of people, from different parts of India. A lot of people have been asking me why Kolkata. Why Kolkata before Delhi?
Hillary Clinton: Because I was in Chennai the last time I was here where the dance pictures were, had an amazing experience there. And coming from China to Bangladesh it seemed very appropriate for us to stop at Kolkata. The economic potential of eastern India is so great, also the geopolitical significance of this area is increasingly recognized when you think about the potential for greater trade and economic integration of going east. The markets that would be opened for West Bengal by not only greater trade with Bangladesh or to Burma dealing with the issues of water and energy that affect the entire region, all of this to me is significant and the United States wants to be a partner with the entire country. So coming here, meeting people, having this opportunity, seeing the Chief Minister is a way of demonstrating our commitment to the future.
NDTV: Now it's interesting that you have been named by Gallup poll as the most admired woman in the United States of America. But as you meet Mamata Banerjee, we cannot help but look at the symbolism of these two different women, two formidable women coming together.
Hillary Clinton: Well...
NDTV: You are formidable, you know that. You can't pretend to be not formidable.
Hillary Clinton: Well I don't think of myself, you know that there are some views which sometimes is an advantage and sometimes a disadvantage. I think it's a great tribute to India that the entire political development of this country at a national, local and state level demonstrating empowerment which is at the core of the Indian dream. This is a country which has embraced democracy, which, by definition, is endowing individuals with their rights and which has made enormous progress. And women have been at the forefront of that progress. I am always happy to meet with another woman leader and having been in politics for eight years as a senator from New York I know how difficult it is for women to be elected anywhere. For me this is still a challenging experience and a double standard, just being judged differently, you are held to a different standard. So when I meet a woman who has broken through those barriers, whatever society she comes from, whatever her background and even whatever her political beliefs are, because some women in public office I agree with their policies, other women I have disagreements with. But we share a common bond of having gone through the fire of electoral politics and very contentious political system which both of our countries have.
NDTV: Is it true that there is an entirely different kind of scrutiny for women in public life? I remember once you joked, but it wasn't really a joke, that the fastest way for you to get a story on the front page was to change your hairstyle.
Hillary Clinton: That's true actually. I mean what do you think? ...I remember I was in Finland once and in Finland they have taken gender equality to an incredibly sophisticated level. I was meeting with the President, the Finance Minister, the head of the central bank and the Defence Minister and four other women who at that time were head of the government of that country. And I said now that you have reached critical mass, I have a feeling that a lot of comments about hair, your clothes and all of that behind you. The Defence Minister looked at me and said that I would go to the Defence Minister's meeting and the coverage in the media would be in my name, wearing a spring suit, in pastel hues. So I think we just have to keep preserving and not be deterred by supporting women who have the gumption to get out in the political arena.
NDTV: Absolutely and I think there is an institutionalized misogyny I think where women like you who have shattered through so many glass ceilings but you are still dealing with so many invisible ones every day.
Hillary Clinton: Well it's so true and it is true globally that women in any one country. Violence against women is unfortunately a problem everywhere, women are the primary victims of conflict. We see effort by religious and other extremists to turn the clock back on women's education, healthcare and opportunities. We are still fighting against child marriage, we are fighting against the devaluation of the girl child. We do have a big agenda ahead of us. It is very important that both men and women be invested in underlying attitude to these discriminatory practices.
NDTV: I am going to start opening the floor for questions. But first question of my own to get the ball rolling. Many people expect part of your focus in Kolkata is going to be to get this part of the country to open its market to Foreign Direct Investment, retail. You are also coming from Bangladesh, there has to be a pact over sharing waters of the Teesta river, it did not come through at the last moment. How high are both these things on your agenda in West Bengal?
Hillary Clinton: Well, they are certainly on the list about what I want to talk about but I am also primarily interested in hearing from the Chief Minister her vision for the future of West Bengal because I don't think it is appropriate for me to come on my first meeting and say this, this and this. I want to know what are you trying to achieve, what will work and have you thought about this. I have been around for a very long time now and I have been able to witness a lot of economic efforts tried and succeeded and tried and failed. I come with a certain belief that India can compete with anybody, anywhere and the more open India becomes the greater will be the rise in the standard of living and more opportunity for a broader number of people. But I also understand politics. A lot of these decisions are difficult and have to be weighed. We will certainly raise the United States' desire to try to open the market to multi-brand retail. Part of the reason is that there is enormous amount of experience that can brought to India on supply chains, management on developing relationships with small producers so that the production will then be made available in larger quantities and there can be all kinds of assistance as we see with Frito-Lay, PepsiCo factory with farmers on their agricultural production. I think there are a lot of benefits that may not necessarily be immediately perceived. This is an issue around the world that is increasingly contentious and we have to do a better job to find a way of win-win solutions for everybody. Because the alternative will be perhaps at the worst end conflict but leading up to that dislocation, refugee flows, famine and other kinds of problems which we are facing in places like North Africa. So we have to work together as an international community. The United States doesn't have any interests in how water issues are resolved but we know looking at our own projections what will be hot issues, literally hot issues, that unless water is put on the list to be dealt with, it can cause all kinds of dislocation that needs to be tried to be headed off.
NDTV: Okay, that was quite candid and there is going to be a lot of questions about the region and so on. Let us take our first question from the audience. The gentleman in the first row. I would request you to stand up and ask your question and just hold the mike close like that. Audience question: Hi, my name is Samyak. I am from Mumbai. I work for the youth advisory council of the US Government. A question and a suggestion - why doesn't the US government make an effort to reach out to grassroots level Indian youth? Because we in this room don't even represent one per cent of the demographics that India has. Because if you want to push FDI or a nuclear plant, it is the rural youth which opposes it for whatever reason The second question: for my knowledge as a social change-maker, what is the role of youth or influence of youth in American policy making?
Hillary Clinton: Two great questions and thank you for participating in our efforts that aims at creating more interaction with the Indian youth. It is as you point rightly out easier to do in urban areas. You can have convening opportunities; there can be all kind of connectives what we are seeking, so we are focusing on that but we are looking for ways to reach out to the rural youth not only in India but other places as well. We really need advice from our youth council advisers to do that. The spread of social media gives us an opportunity to do that but that's not universally available, right? We need other ideas about how we can reach out. I think you are right. In most places in the world, rural areas quite often have less opportunities than their own country leadership, let alone the people from outside the country. So please help us to come up with ideas about what better we can do and certainly on those specific issues that you mentioned we want to have a greater debate and dialogue. You mentioned FDI and civil nuclear issue. Those are issues which we have been in conversation with the Indian government for a very long time, it is not something that the United States had a one sided discussion about. The Indian government was very anxious to do the civil nuclear deal with the United States when I was a senator from New York and I strongly supported it because I wanted to demonstrate a growing relationship with India, the Indian government officials and representatives of various aspects of the Indian society. They made it very clear that India wanted all this. We wanted to have an open conversation but it had to be based on evidence and facts because we can disagree on the policy prescription but increasingly in my own country people are trying to avoid the facts underlying these discussions and substitute ideology or partisan political perspectives or interests or even commercial advantage. I have been calling for evidence based decision making. We can disagree about the policies that can be derived from that but in a democracy it's essential that you have an informed citizenry on basis of which decisions are made and so we want to do more to create that foundation.
NDTV: What you said briefly Secretary Clinton that you are disappointed as to where the liability bill stands given how hard Washington pushed for this nuclear deal? Hillary Clinton: We have made it clear to the government that under the legislation that was passed it would be difficult for US companies to participate because we have private companies which are in the market place. Other nuclear companies are backed by their national governments so they are in effect subsidized, liability is not a big problem for them. They have their governments standing behind them. So we are still discussing this and are hoping that there will be a way to work out the remaining issues.
NDTV: I want to get some young people in and let's go the girl here in the third row.
Audience question: Hi, my Name is Dr Deepika Kedi. I am a practising gastroenterologist in Kolkata. My question to you is that I believe in India we need to educate women in order to empower them. USA being one of the most advanced societies in the world we see them being educated. Then why don't we see them in top positions in the country. I mean in the US, you don't see women in politics, in top positions in the corporate world, in medicine. I have trained in US and I was the only female out there. For example, I would be happy to see you create history by becoming the first woman President of the country and we haven't seen you doing that. What's the reason?
NDTV: May happen in 2016?
Hillary Clinton: She is going to get me in so much trouble.
Audience question continued: Would you like India and US partner to empower women in our country?
Hillary Clinton: Well, I think there are two very interesting models here because women have held the top positions politically in your country. A great display of women's empowerment for a decade now. But you still have a lot of women who need to be educated, who don't have basic protection in their families or their communities in order to able to fulfil their own human destiny. In our country we have a broad base education and ability for people to make decisions but we still have a very hard glass ceiling. That has not yet been broken at the presidential level and certainly in our experience we don't yet have the commensurate percentage of women in our Congress, in our state offices. Increasingly women are present in responsible positions in many fields but we have our own work to do. I think we are kind of a mirror image of each other about the challenges we confront. I have been impressed in reading about what India did with its law to require certain number of women on village councils. I follow that there is a big debate always, do you have quotas or requirements for women and in many places from Rwanda now to India having a requirement at least gets women in the door, they get their chance to demonstrate their ability. So in your country that has worked out really well. That is not something which will work out well in our political system.
NDTV: I just have a question on Twitter, Sugars and spice is the handle. Secretary Clinton you broke quite a few glass ceilings in the democratic primaries last time and since then do you think the United States is ready for a woman president or is it still a long way to go?
Hillary Clinton: I hope it is not a very long way to go. I really want to see that in my lifetime. Our political system is so difficult that individual candidates have to raise all the money they use in their campaign. They not only have to face the challenges of running for office but also have to be out there raising money. I raised tens of millions, more than a hundred million dollars in my campaign. So when you run for President you start on the same level, it's really a money race and a vote race and I was very excited to run for President. I was very pleased that I had a chance to do that. Obviously honoured by the votes that I got. But I think there will be an election that will elect a woman. The political system is the most difficult to navigate for both men and women but particularly for a woman. So we are going to encourage to see that the final glass ceiling is broken but in the meanwhile we have a lot of woman running for the Congress, a lot of women for the state office and will try to fill the pipeline in the political environment.
NDTV: Why have you been saying no to 2016?
Hillary Clinton: I feel...
NDTV: You are going to be the woman who is going to break that final glass ceiling.
Hillary Clinton: I am very flattered but I feel it's time for me to step out of the high wire. I have been involved at the highest level of American politics for 20 years now. You know I would like to come back to India, just wander around without having the streets be closed, a lot of security around. I just want to get back to getting some deep breaths, feeling that there are other ways I can continue to serve.
NDTV: I hope you change your mind, one week is a long time in politics. ...The young girl in the pink shirt.
Audience question: Hi, this is Dr Kanchan Gabba from the National Association for the Blind. I have one question: whether we talk about the youth council or women empowerment, one section of the society is always missing that is the youth with disability or women with disability. How does the US Government deal with this and what is role of NGOs in the United States to deal with this problem of government liaison?
Hillary Clinton: Thank you for the question. I am very proud of the work our country has done starting in the 1970s the legislation required that children with disability could not be denied schooling. One of the first jobs I had as a young lawyer leaving Yale Law School was to work for the Children Defence Fund. We were part of a NGO effort as part of our country to catalogue to build the evidence as to why this was a problem and I and hundreds of other people knocking on doors and asking families, do you have child who is not in school? And we found a lot of children, we found blind children, we found children with behavioural problems, children on wheel chairs, children whose families could not afford the medication they need to be able to attend school. So we passed legislation that every child was entitled to education and they had to be what we call mainstreamed into our classrooms wherever possible. And then when my husband was President we passed the Americans with Disabilities Act so that we start to look at ourselves. If you run a store or an office building how difficult is it for someone with disability to get into your store, to get into your office and we require people to build ramps and other physical renovations made so that the people with disabilities can be mobile and the NGO community has continued this work. We have a lot of NGOs that provide education skills training and employment to people with disabilities so we are very proud of the work we have done. We have laid a good foundation and we stand ready to talk with any other country about our own experience.
NDTV: Alright, I am going to take a question from school students in the last row, these are students from La Martiniere School, it's a girl school by the way...and it has completed 175 years last year, go ahead with your question.
Audience question: I am Pratap Chaudhary from across the road and, please pardon me if you think this question is inappropriate. I come to know that you are a very formidable lady but the question I would like to ask is that you know India is a non-oil producing nation and does not have many oil reserves, the major part of oil comes from middle-eastern nations and the African nations and Iran is a major importer of oil to India. The question I would like to ask: why is US pressuring India to reduce its oil imports from Iran because India has a great need now?
Hillary Clinton: That's a very good question and let me give you a little context for that question. When President Obama took over in 2009 we knew Iran's continuing development of nuclear weapons program would be very destabilising in the region because there would be an arms race with the nations in the region who have pre-existed enmity between themselves and Iran and it would also cause great threat to Israel and our goal was to try and persuade Iran to change its policy because it was already under international sanctions and violating international obligations to the United Nations Security Council and International Atomic Energy Association because it was signatory to the non-proliferation treaty and it had not complied with all the obligations that it has assumed. So we began putting together an international coalition, we passed very strong sanctions of the Security Council and the entire world understood that we could pressure and change its behaviour and avoid a perhaps serious disruption of the oil production and supply coming out of the Gulf. So fast forward to the day we have international consensus that brought Iran back to the negotiating table, the first meeting was in Istanbul, the second meeting will be in a few weeks in Baghdad and there is unanimity among permanent members of the Security Council and the European Union and Germany to negotiate a resolution to the Iranian nuclear resolutions threat. We would not believe that Iran would have come to table if there wasn't pressure and sanctions on the table, we do not believe that Iran will peacefully resolve this unless the pressure continues. So the reason why India, China, Japan and European countries, the primary purchasers of Iran oil, are being asked to lower their supplies to keep the pressure on Iran. Japan went through a devastating earthquake, tsunami, shut down its nuclear programmes and has worked very hard to do just that. Saudi Arabia, Iraq and other suppliers are putting more oil into the market, there is oil available for India and others. So we think India as a country understands the importance of trying to use the diplomacy to resolve these difficult threats is certainly working towards a lower purchasing of their Iranian oil and we command the steps we have taken so far, we believe there is adequate supply in the market place, so we think that this is part of India's role in the international community, it's just not what the United States is doing, it's what the international community is doing and asking.
NDTV: So are you disappointed with India's response so far, many people today believe that irritant in the relationship between Delhi and Washington is India's position in Iran. There has been as you said a reduction in oil imports which obviously has not gone as far as you would like it to be. Hillary Clinton: Well, but it has moved and I mean we are encouraged by what we have seen, the Indian government has been able to do. if there wasn't adequate supply, if India didn't have the ability to go into the market, we would understand that but we believe that there is adequate supply and there are ways for India to continue to meet its energy requirements, so we appreciate what is been done and of course we want to keep the pressure on Iran so whatever India and other countries can do will help us achieve that. NDTV: India is hoping for the sanction waivers, so when will they come through? Hillary Clinton: It's too early to make any comment on that because that's not for ...it's about two months from now when the decision been made.
NDTV: Okay, the question there in the last row please.
Audience question: Good morning, I am a student of La Martiniere for Girls, since we are talking about the foreign policy now, my question to you, that you've spoken about Iran and you feel strongly about taking action against it, but what about Israel? Why hasn't US taken any active action against it despite the fact that it is in violation of 35 UN resolutions and at the same time why hasn't it convinced Israel to sign the NPT which Israel is yet to sign?
Hillary Clinton: I don't think we have been able to convince India to sign the NPT.
NDTV: But I would like to know the response as it is a serious question in this part of the world.
Hillary Clinton: Well, it is obviously. US believes that whatever difference one might have with the situation with the middle east, Israel has been defending itself now for 60 years and has made numerous overtures to try to bring about a peaceful resolution of the situation and it has thus far been unsuccessful in doing, so we continue to try to press for resolution particularly on the Palestinian issue which US also cares deeply about. We think that the proliferation of nuclear weapons is one of the biggest problems in the world and it's not only one country that we worry about, nuclear weapons proliferating in other countries and nuclear arms race that would be very damaging even though we look at this what primarily states are doing. Our biggest fear is that nuclear material could fall in the hands of terrorist groups. So we believe that at this moment in time, the principal threat is a nuclear armed Iran, because Iran is a sponsor of terrorism, there was a recent incident here in India with Iran supported state terrorism, they work through proxies like Hezbollah, we broke up a plot where the Iranian government was trying to murder these Saudi ambassadors to the US by hiring a drug trafficker, hit man. So the problems with Iran go far beyond even in this region. They recently were engaged in bomb building in Thailand, they bombed a facility in Argentina some years back so I just want everybody in India to understand that we have nothing against the Iranian people. President Obama reached out to the Iranian people from the moment he entered office, he wanted a different relationship, he has reached out to the Iranian leadership asking if there can be a different relationship, so far we had no reciprocity and what we hear from the region around Iran is a great deal of anxiety, because they are not worried about the possibility of something happening in the future, they are dealing with now what Iran does to destabilize them, they support terrorism and they believe nuclear armed Iran is a threat to world peace. We can point fingers at other countries that doesn't in anyway undermine the focus that need to be put on the dangers posed by Iran. Look at the fact that we have unity. Russia, China are as concerned as US, France, Germany, UK and the European Union. So this may be a problem that you may think of as been kind of far off, you don't think that Iran would have any reason to cause you trouble, but why did they send their terrorist agents to your country to try to kill the Israeli diplomat and other civilians? This is a regime that has a history of aggressive behaviour, I don't think you deal with the aggressors by hitting into them, so part of our goal is to peacefully resolve and diplomatically and that's why we need India to be part of the international effort.
NDTV: Are you worried Secretary about a military, are you apprehensive about the military conflict between Israel and Iran?
Hillary Clinton: I am apprehensive, on public record I am not saying anything that has not been in our press, if you put yourself in Israel's position and they have leaders of a country saying that they want to wipe you off the map, they want to destroy you, they want to end the presence of the Jewish people, it will make you a little worried and certainly India knows from the Iran experience that you have to pay attention to threats and you have to be prepared for them in your own neighbourhood. So I think Israel is very worried that, if Iran were to get a nuclear weapon, you might have a decision of some future leader to actually use it and that would be devastating, so yes they are worried, they are worried, they are supporting our efforts trying to resolve peacefully and convince Iran. They have a right to civil nuclear power, they have that right. They are a member of NPT and that comes with being a member, so we would like to see them join the international consensus for the peaceful use of nuclear power but give up irrevocably their right to weapons and that's what we are hoping they will eventually do.
NDTV: All right let's move on, one question here?
Audience question: Good morning ma'am, I am also a part of the youth advisory of the US government, so I have four simple questions for you. The possible cut down on outsourcing, it leads to a lot of protectionism and do the Indians have to worry about their jobs?
NDTV: Let's take one question at a time.
Hillary Clinton: So you are talking about the outsourcing of US jobs to India. We know it's been going on for many years now and it's part of our economic relationship with India and I think there are advantages with it that have certainly benefitted many parts of our country and there are disadvantages that go to the need to improve the job fields of our own people and create a better economic environment so it's like anything like the pluses and minuses.
NDTV: There is a new advertisement on the election campaign of President Obama that's causing a lot of heartburn here over outsourcing. Hillary Clinton: Well you know it's an election campaign and there is an obligation in any election campaign (NDTV: to overstate?) well I'll not go that far to say overstate but to talk about what's on people's minds and it's more directed towards the fear that a lot of Americans who are in manufacturing, who don't feel like that they have any other job possibility because they are not trained for any other job possibilities. So it's a legitimate issue, it needs to be aired, but I think the President has been clear that he wants to develop our own exports, we are on the way of doubling our exports, he wants to improve education, skills training so that people can have a job in the 21st century, so it's fair to talk about and you also have to have a solution that looks to where we are going to work. NDTV: Getting a question on Twitter, this says with the United States terminating Osama Bin Laden last year, what is the next big target for America in the war against terrorism? As you answer that I am actually going to get up the very definitive image there, I am going to ask you a few questions about what you were thinking in that moment? What's the next big target?
Hillary Clinton: Look we want to disable Al Qaeda and we have made a lot of progress in doing that. There are several significant leaders still on the run, Zawahiri who inherited the leadership from Bin Laden is somewhere, we believe, in Pakistan. So we are intent upon going after those who are trying to keep Al Qaeda operational and inspirational. But the network of terrorism which India knows all too well from your own experiences is more broad-based than any one group. I think you have to do three things; you have to have the best possible intelligence; law enforcement; judicial defence response; so that you can protect your people. First obligation of any government is to protect your people and you got to do that. Secondly, you have to go after those who are trying to kill you. You have to be focused on that. I recently authorized a 10 million dollar award for one of the people we believe was the mastermind of the attack in Mumbai.
NDTV: Hafiz Saeed.
Hillary Clinton: That killed 166 people including six Americans and we want everybody associated with this brought to justice. It may take longer than any one of us would like but we are going to be standing with you to make that happen and, thirdly, you have to change the way the people think. India and US are the greatest rebukes to religious extremism. Because you have people of every religion like we do and that drives the extremists crazy. They hate tolerance. They hate respect for people's religious beliefs. They want all to believe what they believe and we stand against that. We have to be working towards a greater religious tolerance, greater inner faith, understanding, ending any remnants of discrimination or prejudice or bias and make the case broadly across the world that the extremists are a dead end, that the way for a better future is where people are listening to each other, respecting each other.
NDTV: I am so glad you brought up the example of Hafiz Saeed and the decision you authorised that was announced in the US justice department and you saw the response here. There has been some confusion, initially it was announced as a bounty on his head, then it turned out to be reward on the information that leads to his arrest or conviction, India says we have handed over dossier after dossier and all the information that is needed is there is in those dossiers. Are you saying there isn't enough information?
Hillary Clinton: No, but we are saying this is the way our system works. I mean that's what these rewards are; they are rewards for information that can lead to bringing somebody to justice. We are well aware that there have not yet been steps taken by Pakistani government to do what both India and US have repeatedly requested that they do. And we are going to keep pushing that point. So it's a way of raising the visibility and pointing out to those who are associated with them that there is a cost for that and it's a cost that they themselves will have to bear going forward.
NDTV: We would go back to the audience but that picture, if we can get that back again, I wanted you to share with us two things, what were you thinking, we will have that up in just a second and also President Bill Clinton recently said that he had no idea from you, you didn't share with him that the OBL operation was going to happen? There is the picture back again, what were you thinking then?
Hillary Clinton: When I first saw that, I had no idea when it was taken or what was going on and I didn't even know if I was coughing or I didn't have any idea but when we did the timeline and we think that was around the time when one of our helicopters had a problem. We sent in our Navy seals and on helicopters and one of the helicopters had a problem going into the courtyard of the Bin Laden complex and it got its tail caught on the wall disabling it and that was a very stressful moment, because we had to get another helicopter in order to take out the men who were on that helicopter, we had to blow up the helicopter. Before we had to blow up the helicopter, we had to get women and children out of the house so that they would not be endangered by that and we are very proud of what the Seals did, so there was a lot going, so you see the intensity of the expressions on everybody's face.
NDTV: And could there be any other OBL type of operation needed in Pakistan or anywhere else?
Hillary Clinton: Well I am not going to comment on that, we have made it clear that we would very much like to have some kind of counter terrorism kind of partnership with Pakistan where we went after the targets that were killing Afghans, Americans and others in Afghanistan and after the targets that were killing Pakistanis in Pakistan, Pakistan has lost far more people in the last 10 years, more than 30,000 to terrorist attacks than either Indian and US have. And it is in their interest and it is in the interest of their sovereignty to go after terrorists who are operating on their territory and you have to demonstrate that you are not going to cede authority or territory to terrorists. We are going to work to continue to try to have a mutually beneficial framework for that.
NDTV: Alright, questions here? Audience question: I am a Bengali and I am a designer. My question to you is that the glamour and fashion industry is still very much disconnected with the reality of global warming and so many other important issues, so my question is how can we connect these two worlds, I have been working a lot with jute which is a very eco-friendly fabric from eastern India, so my request to you is how can we promote this fabric in the US and how can the two countries work better with our textile and my second question is how important it is...
NDTV: Only one question at a time please.
Hillary Clinton: I think that's a very interesting idea and I believe the best way is to connect our fashion designers with their counterparts here in India and few like fashion design councils or something and trade information about more environmentally sustainable materials and means of production and I will be happy to encourage things like that.
Audience question: I am the Tripura president of Indian National Congress, just wanted to ask you a question because I was very encouraged when you say the 'Look East' policy, I come from the North East of India, I am not from Kolkata, and you've spoken about Iran and the foreign policy. There is one country that you have been successfully able to soften, which is Burma and the North East of India and Burma and look East at the entire ASEAN countries, can you tell us how you could nudge both the regions, India with North East as well as Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia towards working for a better economic as well as cultural relationship? Thank you.
Hillary Clinton: Well I think that is one of the most important questions to answer for this country because you look at south Asia and central Asia, if you go from Turkmenistan and other countries through central Asia through Afghanistan, Pakistan and India and Bangladesh to Burma, this region does not trade or exchange cultural and other things as much as the other regions do, there are long-standing historical differences, there are still simmering disagreements and even potential for conflict if not managed correctly, so one of the things we are doing and I spoke about this in my speech in Chennai last year is promoting the idea of a new silk route. India was on the old silk route, Burma, Bangladesh were on the old silk route and think about the gentleman's question about oil, think about a pipeline that came from Turkmenistan which has a lot of oil and gas through Afghanistan, Pakistan through India, into the south eastern to Bangladesh and the like, think about the port here in Kolkata being repaired and restored and turned into one of the great ports looking east. Think about a way of enhancing transportation connectivity from east India to the north east down to the countries you mentioned. This is the kind of vision that I believe should occupy minds of the regions and of the leaders. Now because we all have to lift our heads up, we cannot just keep being preoccupied into our own internal political problems because a lot of the solutions lie outside in having greater peace stability and prosperity that we are a part of and I hope that it would be on agenda for India to lead.
NDTV: And not time yet though to lift sanctions against Burma?
Hillary Clinton: We are lifting sanctions against Burma, not all at once because we want to watch what happens to encourage during reforms.
NDTV: Alright, questions?
Audience question: I am a musician and I have a question from the world of music. I have been involved in international collaborations with many countries, musicians of many countries across the world. I have been to the US many times, all across the country; now what I see the music of India is probably less served in the mainstream than music from other parts of the world. I would like to ask you generally how much of a cultural ally is India considered and what sort of forums are available to artists to reach out to directly to the US government apart from the ICCR because we don't get any help from that, so that we can collaborate better with the musicians of your country and perform for the mainstream.
Hillary Clinton: Well, I am a very strong believer of cultural and artistic exchanges and I would like to connect you up with our consul general who is over here afterwards because we are trying to enhance a number of such exchanges and we know that those kinds of connections between people actually makes relationship. I want to follow up with you.
NDTV: Alright, questions?
Audience question: The question that I have is a little different to what everyone has said. I work with young people and I am a part of youth council as well. I work on Youth and Citizenship and I have been following for a long time since I was in school and I have seen you transform in terms of how young people have been able to associate with you especially the 'Text of Hillary', the whole Tumblr went viral and even you sent in a mail and then they finally sort of...I want to ask you something I face in India is that how do you get young people to engage with politicians because if we are 60 per cent young that means we are going to occupy power and no one wants to occupy power, so how do you get young people to engage and how did you get politicians to engage with young people?
Hillary Clinton: You know, I think about his question a lot and I don't know that I have any conclusive answers to that at all. I mean you made a couple of general points raising it, first of all you know historically certainly in my country the young people are the least likely to participate, least likely to vote, the least likely to run for the office, least likely to be involved in the political process. Usually in our country the voting rate is pretty low among young people and President Obama raised it to a little bit but not as much as all of us hoped for. I think the first thing is we kept trying to convince young people who are preoccupied in their lives, finishing their studies, getting their first jobs, having relationships, getting married, having children and a last going on the lives, young people during that period, so we have to convince young people that it is worth participating in politics. Secondly, young people have very strong feelings about issues but they don't necessarily connect those issues to the political process and that's something where we have to do a better job of. I am going to give you a small story from Egypt, you know there is no doubt, the young people and social media changed the Egyptian revolution, they were the first to enter Tahrir Square, they are the ones that kept the revolution going. It was clear that it was the young person's cry to freedom, democracy, opportunity. But when we ban talking to young people in the revolution, in the participation, in the politics they said the same - we don't want to participate in politics. You know that's not for us but we made the case - if you don't participate in politics you may not agree with you may not participate in politics and it was very hard to convince them transfer their revolutionary energy into that, the Occupy Wall Street movement, very much against politics, but in a democracy, like it or not, politics is the means by which we make decisions and it determines where our country is going, we have to do a better, smarter job and maybe we can use the social media more effectively.
NDTV: Now she spoke about your transformation, there are a bunch of images I want to take you all through. And that's you at a secret mission to Tripoli and that set off the means to speak about Hillary, those were the two guys who were kind of spoofing you till you joined in on the joke, prompting Maureen Dowd to write a whole column on your cool quotient, just play that again for those who don't know what's happening, the bionic women kind of image there on a secret mission on Tripoli, that's you joining in on the joke on you. Have you changed?
Hillary Clinton: No I don't think so, obviously that was very funny, I didn't know the two young men, they made it up one day and it started appearing and I thought it was pretty funny, so I wanted to beat them because it was so clever and it was funny without being mean. I like how they did it so they came in and they spoofed it. The Internet and the social media have so much potential for communicating messages that can be impactful. We can do funny things but how do we do serious communication that people will actually follow up on, maybe we ask those young men to do that because they clearly understood it.
NDTV: Interestingly the point is that we can queue up the next set of images, because we got little less time now and that's you literally letting your hair down and you have got a lot of attraction in the American media, a lot of commentary on how it's so refreshing to see a politician who can have a little bit of fun, let's speak to young people, did those images change something for you?
Audience question: I think the thing was that the lot of attention are the times when you cannot associate with your politicians, right, and the fact that you went out and did something like that, the President of US is on Instagram and Twitter, and we have politicians on Twitter and on Instagram and all those things as well, but it's about how you can engage more coherently and how, what do you do to get you or the politicians to engage with young people?
NDTV: And those pictures prompted President Obama to say that you were drunk-texting, joke of course, but at the end has it gone easier in your many decades in politics to laugh at yourself? In your book Living History, you quoted Eleanor Roosevelt and you said a women in politics has to have a skin as thick as a rhinoceros, has it got easier to deal with the tough things, the bad things, the mean things?
Hillary Clinton: Well I think it has because when you have as much experience as I have, you either figure out how to deal with it or you do not get out of the bed in the morning. I think for me criticism comes with territory of being in politics in either of our countries. You must take it seriously but not personally. By that I mean sometimes your critics have a lesson for you, you may be what you are trying to do was not been communicated effectively and they are pointing that out or you want to take it seriously but you can't take it personally and that's why I quoted Eleanor Roosevelt, one of great American leaders about growing skin as thick as rhinoceros if you want to be a women in politics.
NDTV: A very last question to you, I am sorry it's the last?
Audience question: It's not a question, it is for Hillary didi, that's the way we address in Bengal, you are didi for all, I am the President of Indo-American Chamber of Commerce, it's not a question because I have questions, but on some other occasion when I have the opportunity, I'll be giving all the questions, but I would like to comment on something that Barkha said and asked you that have you changed, may I answer that for you?
Hillary Clinton: Sure.
Audience question: She hasn't changed she has become better and whether she breaks that invisible ceiling, in 2016 or not, she is going to leave behind footprints and an inspiration for the youth. I have broken many ceilings and there are so many to break and it's up to these young women don't you think and yes I need their support to break so many ceilings so that we make way for them so that they have to break many less. NDTV: I think that's a good note to wrap up but I think a lady next to you 10 seconds, wait a minute sir, women get first in this show.
Audience question: I am an artist and I am against this terrorism and I prefer creating human beings and in India we have elected political leaders from a long time, like Indira Gandhi or the chief minister in West Bengal now, and our President is also a woman but we don't have certain rights in India. My question is there should be rights for women and single mothers and special facilities like social security etc. in India like in many other countries?
NDTV: Okay, let her answer now sir, we request you to pipe down, lots of changes in West Bengal.
Hillary Clinton: I'll quickly answer both. I strongly believe raising children is the most important job in society and therefore we need to support parents and if the parents are single mothers we need to support them and we need to get them the kind of sense of belonging to involvement they need the best job they can for their children. Of course, I think as the economies develop, there needs to be more social security and I am looking forward to seeing the Chief Minister and I will look forward to that and I am looking forward to our discussion to just get to know and to hear what she hopes to accomplish for her people here in West Bengal.
NDTV: Can I ask you to sum up for us where you see Indo-US equation, there have been some naysayers, some irritants, there have been some we have spoken about, others for example the retrospective tax that lots of people have concerns, what's the big picture, what's the main worry?
Hillary Clinton: You know, fundamentally this relationship between the world's largest and the world's oldest democracy is very sound it is not only being carried out on a government to government level, but at a business level, a professional level a cultural level, a people and people level. So I'm very confident that this relationship will get deeper and deeper and broader as time goes by, that does not mean that we have to agree on everything, no two people agree on everything, two great countries couldn't possibly get to agree on everything. We have different perspectives, we have different histories, we have different challenges but I am very pleased about this that in the last three and a half years we have created this mechanism for an ongoing strategic dialogue where we talk about everything, nothing is off the table, we may not agree but we may discuss every single issue and I think that's the way you should develop the relationship. So I am very confident about the relationship going forward.
NDTV: We will look forward to welcoming you to India again, Thank you again so much.