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Biden to visit India; trade, defence on agenda

world Updated: Jul 20, 2013 16:52 IST

Joe Biden will embark on his maiden visit to India as US Vice President on Monday to discuss key bilateral issues, including trade, energy and defence, to make Indo-US ties the most important strategic partnership of the 21st century.

During his four-day-long 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 would arrive in New Delhi on July 22, would focus on four key issues of economic and trade ties, energy and climate change; defense 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 the Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj.

Biden, who wanted to travel to India in the first term itself, would begin 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 in Mumbai, where he would meet the 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 the 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.

"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," Biden told an audience at the prestigious George Washington University on Friday.