Washington: For the first time in several
years, the US Secretary of State will not be part of the
Presidential delegation when Barack Obama visits India next
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who has played a
key role in accelerating the Indo-US relationship, will not
accompany Obama during his November visit due to "scheduling
Clinton would be in Australia along with Defence
Secretary Robert Gates for the 25th anniversary of the annual
Australia-US Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN).
This would be a distinct departure from the past, at
least since the advent of the new era of Indo-US relationship
since the Clinton Administration, that the Secretary of State
would not be accompanying the visiting American President.
When the Air Force One touched the New Delhi airport
on the evening of March 19, 2000, Bill Clinton was not only
accompanied by the First Lady Hillary Clinton and daughter
Chelsea but also by his Secretary of State Madeline Albright.
Similarly on March 1, 2006 when George W Bush arrived
in New Delhi he was accompanied by the then Secretary of
State Condoleezza Rice.
The schedule of Obama`s visit has not been announced
yet, but it is expected that when he lands in Mumbai on the
wee hours of November 6 he will be accompanied by the First
Lady Michelle Obama.
This would also be the first overseas trip of his new
National Security Advisor Tom Donilon.
In the absence of Clinton, a top State Department
official is expected to accompany the US President.
Officials acknowledged that it would be a departure
from the past tradition the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
would not be travelling with Obama as has been in the past.
At the same time they noted that it is mostly because
of the "scheduling conflict and the host of international
activities that has been going on this year."
In fact, it is Clinton, who has played a key role in
accelerating the Indo-US relationship during the Obama
It is she who described Indo-US relationship under
the Obama Administration as 3.0 phase of the ties between the
two largest democratic countries of the world.