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US vice president Joe Biden arrives in India on four-day visit
Monday July 22, 2013 11:25 PM, IANS

US Vice President Joe Biden arrived in India Monday on a four-day visit aimed at boosting bilateral strategic ties.

Biden's visit comes a month after that of US Secretary of State John Kerry, who had announced the vice president's visit and said it was aimed at keeping up the momentum in ties with strategic partner India.

Biden, who is accompanied by his wife Jill, was received by Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai as his aircraft landed at the Indian Air Force station, Palam.

The US vice president smiled and gave the thumbs up sign to waiting photographers and his wife too smiled.

The visit by the US vice president, his first since his swearing-in, is expected to lay the groundwork for the visit in September by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to the US.

Enhanced economic cooperation, defence, energy, nuclear and regional issues are expected to be on the table when Biden meets Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Tuesday for official talks. There will be no delegation-level talks.

Ahead of the visit, the White House held an extensive background teleconference announcing the visit on July 19.

"I think you can expect the vice president to set out an ambitious vision for the US-India relationship, looking not just at the months ahead or the years ahead, but the decades ahead. And in particular, I think he will highlight all of the areas of potential - the economic potential of our relationship," a White House official said.

Biden has said he wants to see an acceleration in bilateral trade, which is on track to touch $100 billion this year.

Biden and his wife visited Gandhi Smriti, a museum dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi, after their arrival.

He is to call on President Pranab Mukherjee, meet Vice President Hamid Ansari, United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday.

He leaves Tuesday evening for Mumbai, where he will deliver a speech on US-India relations and meet the business community and students. He departs from Mumbai Thursday for Singapore on the last leg of his week-long trip.

"This trip will be an important opportunity to strengthen our partnerships within the region and reaffirm our commitment to re-balancing US foreign policy towards the Asia-Pacific," the White House said.

Biden will attend a dinner to be hosted by Vice President Ansari at Hyderabad House on Tuesday, before leaving for Mumbai. He flies to Singapore on Thursday.

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