“I am very confident… that the United States and India can devise a plan that will dramatically change the way we produce, consume and conserve energy”
— Hillary Clinton to Indian Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh, July 2009
A proud mother. A proud Democrat. A proud American. And a proud supporter of Barack Obama. That is how Hillary Rodham Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State, described herself in a speech at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. And that is the message she wants to get across to the global community as well.
Clinton should be aided in achieving these goals through her multi-task demeanor and determined way of conducting business. Born to staunchly political conservative parents, Hillary displayed her independent spirit early on, breaking away during her years at Wellesley. Her tenacity and grit assisted her in her climb up the political ladder, as First Lady, Senator, and finally taking on the role of the U.S. Secretary of State.
However, Hillary Clinton has been a lightning rod for judgment, both good and bad. She has been admired for her strength and vilified for it. She has been scrutinized thoroughly, be it for her hairstyles or her healthcare plans. But for the most part, Clinton has won mostly admirers for her stalwart support for women around the world and her concern with children’s issues.
Now, she hopes to garner the admiration of both Indian and U.S. citizens with her first visit to India as U.S. Secretary of State. On an event-packed schedule in Mumbai, Clinton convened with business leaders, students, politicians and film stars. Her visit to India is an attempt to foster cooperation between the U.S. and India on a wide range of issues that include countering terrorism, nuclear deals and global warming.
Clinton signed agreements with India that will help expand the relations between the two countries and would also benefit the U.S. in $20 billion worth of nuclear and energy sales. The Secretary has also promised that there will be improved cooperation between the two countries on high-tech trade. This has not only significantly boosted India’s military power and given a thrust to U.S. defense firms but has also put a spotlight on Hillary Clinton’s diplomatic prowess.
Adding to this, Clinton is the medium through which U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration is looking to strengthen the five main threads that bind the relationship between the U.S. and India. These include defense cooperation, science and technology agreements, energy and climate change developments, education, and trade. Clinton also discussed developing strategic security cooperation to settle the conflict between the Pakistani government and militant groups with links to the Taliban. But her discussions on this topic have come under the microscope of criticism, with many critics harping that Clinton did not take a tougher stand on the issue. The jury is still out on this.
To be sure, Hillary Clinton, like other global leaders, will never be far from the judging eyes of the world’s courtroom. But whether it is signing nuclear deal agreements or supporting women’s groups such as the Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) or winning a Grammy award for her recording of her best-selling children’s book, Hillary Clinton has struck the right balance. As she has aptly said, “For me, that balance is family, work, and service.”
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