Clinton Visits Mumbai Ahead Of New Delhi Talks

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has a message for her hosts in India: Don't make the mistakes on climate change that the U.S. did. NPR's Michele Kelemen is following Clinton's trip, and has this report from Mumbai.

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GUY RAZ, host:

Welcome back to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave India a message on climate change today: Don't make the same mistakes the U.S. has. Clinton also made a statement with her choice of hotel in Mumbai, the sight of last fall's deadly terrorist attacks.

NPR's Michele Kelemen has the story from that city.

MICHELE KELEMEN: Secretary Clinton said she decided to stay in one of the luxury hotels that was attacked last November to show solidarity with the people of Mumbai. She met with survivors, including the general manager of the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, a man who lost family in the rampage.

Secretary HILLARY CLINTON (Department of State): These events are seared in our collective memory, and yesterday's bombings in Jakarta provide a painful reminder that the threat of such violent extremism is still very real. It is global, it is ruthless, it is nihilistic, and it must be stopped.

KELEMEN: Clinton brought along her climate change envoy to try to convince India that it can develop while at the same time cutting carbon emissions.

Sec. CLINTON: We have made mistakes in the United States, and we along with other developed countries have contributed most significantly to the problem that we face with climate change. We are hoping that a great country like India will not make the same mistakes.

KELEMEN: She made that case as she met with a cross section of people, from wealthy and influential business leaders, to artisans and farmers from the countryside who serenaded her.

(Soundbite of people singing)

Clinton seemed most at home here as she toured a small store run by SEWA, the Self-Employed Women's Association, a group she's followed since her years as first lady. She sifted through the scarves and blouses they embroidered before one woman showed her how she communicates with other members of the group via Skype.

(Soundbite of crowd)

Sec. CLINTON: Oh, that's so exciting.

KELEMEN: Clinton said it's a good way for these women, many of whom can't read, to communicate and do business. She was then handed the microphone to give a little pep talk.

Sec. CLINTON: Hello, this is Hillary Clinton.

Unidentified Woman: Yeah.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Sec. CLINTON: And I am so happy to be here with my friends from SEWA and to be able to talk with all of you because of technology.

KELEMEN: This was vintage Clinton talking about how the grassroots organization is a model for women around the world. Passing by photos of her visit to India as first lady, she joked with them about how she's gone through a few different hairstyles since then. But one thing hasn't changed, she loves doing this kind of public diplomacy outreach, and that's all she's doing before heading into her official talks in New Delhi on Monday.

Michele Kelemen, NPR News, Mumbai.

(Soundbite of music)

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