US Vice President on maiden visit to India to bolster ties

New Delhi, PTI | Updated : 22 July 2013, 07:21 PM

In his first official visit to India after assuming office in 2009, US Vice-President Joe Biden arrived on Monday on a four-day trip aimed at bolstering ties in key sectors of trade, energy, defence and security.

During his stay in India, Biden will hold meetings with top Indian leadership, including President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Biden, accompanied by his wife Jill, was received at the airport here by Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai and Indian envoy to the US Nirupama Rao.

Official sources said the focus will be on four key areas of economic and trade ties, energy and climate change, defence co-operation and a wide range of regional co-operation.

Biden, 70, had visited New Delhi in 2008 as a Senator.

He will also hold talks with Vice President Hamid Ansari and Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj.

Biden, who wanted to travel to India in the first term itself, began his trip with a visit to the Gandhi Smriti Museum to show his respect to the Father of the Nation.

All his meetings have been scheduled for July 23, at the end of which he would attend a dinner hosted in his honour by Ansari.

Biden would spend the next two days - July 24 and 25 -- in Mumbai, where he would meet business leaders at a round table and deliver a policy speech at the Bombay Stock Exchange.

He is expected to set up an "ambitious vision" for India- US relationship, in addition to attending a women's empowerment event at IIT Mumbai.

He would leave for Singapore on July 25.

All this while, Jill would hold a series of health and nutritional events in New Delhi and Mumbai and visit the Taj Mahal in Agra.

Biden, however, would not be visiting the Taj Mahal.

The US Vice President, while speaking at the prestigious George Washington University last week had said, "One of the reasons why President (Barack) Obama called our relations with India, quote, 'a defining partnership of the century ahead' is that India is increasingly looking east as a force for security and growth in Southeast Asia and beyond".

First Published: Monday, July 22, 2013 07:19 PM
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