Clinton stutters, coughs and chokes on China, 9/11 and Pak queries (re-Issue)

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New Delhi, July 21 (ANI): That U.S Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at times appears and feels so politically unsure of herself in the corridors of power in Washington, was visible at Monday evening's press conference at Hyderabad House after delegation level talks between the United States and India.

While for the most part, the interaction with the media went off smoothly, someway through it she went into spasms of choking and coughing, particularly when two questions were asked of her-one relating to the incident of a U.S soldier's capture and of perpetrators of 9/11 being present in Pakistan even as Islamabad denies it, and the second relating to the U.S. deepening its relations with China and Pakistan.

Hillary was a bit cautious and took a few moments before replying to a correspondent's two-part question.

Replying to the first part of the query relating to the kidnapping of an American soldier, Hillary said: "It's deeply regrettable and tragic that we've had loss of lives by our Marines and soldiers in the last week since they have aggressively pursued the Taliban in southern Afghanistan and we are very concerned about the kidnapping of our American soldier and we are working to obtain his safe release."

To the second part of the same question, she said: "With respect to the location of those who were part of planning and execution of the attacks of 9/11on our country, we firmly believe that a significant number of them are in the border area of Pakistan and, we have conveyed that to the Pakistan government and others, and we are actively looking for additional information that will lead us to them."

Before another question could be asked, Hillary started coughing. When an Indian television channel correspondent asked her question relating to the deepening U.S., China, Pakistan axis, a constantly coughing Hillary by that time said: "My comments, if I don't choke, are that...."

Hillary soon composed herself by sipping water, and resumed her reply saying: "We have demonstrated very clearly the significance and importance of our relations with India. We entered into this relationship to broaden and deepen it as partners already on the world stage.

And, what we outlined today will be significant expansion of our bilateral relationship. And, we also have a very important set of issues that we are pursuing with Pakistan, China, and with many countries around the world. But I don't think you can understate the significance of our relationships as two democracies."

"We have entered in a relation with India to deepen and strengthen it. We have important set of issues that we are engaged with China and Pakistan," Hillary added.

But this evening's press conference appeared to also somehow lend credence to an earlier observation by the New York Daily News that highlighted Clinton's marginalisation in the American political hierarchy.

According to the tabloid, Obama has made Hillary Clinton nearly invisible; something his predecessor George W.Bush could never manage.

Clinton"s recent speech at the Washington-based Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) was designed to highlight her heavyweight status within the Obama administration, but according to the NY Daily News, it did just the opposite, confirming the sense she is being marginalized on foreign policy.

"The campaign to puff her up was too obvious. She stacked the room with aides and her team talked up the "muscular" approach she would take toward Iran. To get ready for her closeup, Clinton shed the sling she has worn since breaking her elbow. All for naught. The appearance raised fresh questions about her reduced role because the speech was a tired rehash of existing themes and broke no new policy ground," says the paper.

"A damp squib" one disappointed critic called it.

It certainly didn"t help that Obama upstaged her by appearing at about the same time to talk about health care.

That she and Obama are entering a Cold War phase was predictable.

According to the paper, signs of friction between the two first surfaced in December last year. By Smita Prakash (ANI)

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