US vice president Joe Biden arrives in India on Monday on a visit aimed at boosting trade and strengthening strategic relations as Washington pursues its new Asia-Pacific policy.
Biden's four-day visit will include meetings with top Indian leaders, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, before he heads to Mumbai to meet Indian business leaders.
Biden and Indian leaders were expected to discuss hurdles to trade and restrictions on American companies doing business in the Indian marketplace.
Biden's visit is viewed as a major step in promoting President Barack Obama's Asia-Pacific rebalance policy aimed at forging strong partnerships in the region seen as an effort to counterbalance China's power.
Biden begins his trip Monday evening with a visit to a museum dedicated to MK Gandhi, India's independence leader and nonviolence crusader.
This is Biden's first trip to India as vice president. He visited New Delhi in 2008 as a senator.
During formal talks Tuesday, the countries will focus on ways to expand bilateral trade that currently stands at $100 billion.
In a speech in Washington on Thursday, Biden noted that trade between the countries had increased five-fold over the past 13 years, but there were no reasons that was not five times as much.
American businesses have been pressuring the Obama administration to take up with India the need for stronger intellectual property protection.
In the past decade, bilateral trade has been growing steadily, but US business groups have complained about the slow pace of economic reform in India and have urged New Delhi open up its markets further.
New Delhi is expected to air its concerns about proposals in the US Congress to curb visas for high-tech Indian workers.
India and the United States will also discuss regional security, including efforts to end the conflict in Afghanistan.
The U.S. increasingly views India as a partner in developing Afghanistan, where New Delhi has provided $2 billion in assistance. Washington also wants India to play a more active role in training Afghan security forces as the U.S. and its NATO allies withdraw combat forces by 2014.
On Thursday, Biden heads for Singapore, a pillar in the policy to bind together the Asia-Pacific nations through a string of alliances.