West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was Thursday invited to visit Washington DC by a delegation from the US, led by Under Secretary (Political Affairs) Thomas A Shannon.
This was the first meeting — held at state secretariat Nabanna — between US government officials and Mamata since she took over as CM in her second term.
Sources in CMO said the meeting focused on facilitation of investment in Bengal, the state’s increasing geo-political importance in Union government’s ‘Act East Policy’, its strategic importance due to proximity to Bangladesh and the advent of increasing incidence of terror in the neighbouring country.
“We discussed a lot of topics like investment, technology, culture and social media,” Mamata said after the meeting. She added that she has been invited to the US and in return, she has also invited the US President to Bengal. “A lot of students from here study there. We have very good relations,” Mamata said.
Shannon thanked Mamata for the meeting, saying he is impressed with her hospitality. “India has good relations with America. Our relation with Kolkata is also very old. This will increase in the days to come,” he said.
Speaking on the invitation to Mamata, an official said: “This is not a matter for the state government to decide. Even if the invitation is given directly to a chief minister, any foreign visit for a CM has to be coordinated through the Centre. However, in this case, we don’t feel the Centre will have any reason to protest.”