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US Vice President Biden's India visit begins

US Vice President Bidens India visit begins

Washington: US Vice President Joe Biden Monday left for a rare vice presidential trip to India for the first leg of his visit to the Asia-Pacific region.

Accompanied by his wife Jill, Biden is scheduled to arrive at New Delhi this evening, after which he will visit Gandhi Smriti, a museum dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi.

Biden will meet top leaders in New Delhi and address business and student community in Mumbai, before leaving for Singapore for the last leg of his week-long trip.

In Mumbai, he will deliver a speech on US-India relations and meet the business community and students.

"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's visit is expected to lay ground work for the US visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in September-October, during which he is expected to hold meetings with President Barack Obama.

According to the White House, Biden will begin his official meetings tomorrow with his Indian counterpart Ansari. He will also meet the US Embassy staff in New Delhi.

Biden will meet President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other leaders to discuss India-US engagement on a broad array of issues includes economic growth, trade, energy and climate change, security and investments in innovation and education.

In his meetings with the top leaders, Biden is likely to discuss host of bilateral, regional and global issues, besides emphasising on closer cooperation to harness economic and strategic opportunities, the White House said.

The US Vice President in then scheduled to call on Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj, before having a one-to-one dialogue with Prime Minister Singh at his official residence.

Biden will meet President Mukherjee at the Rashtrapati Bhawan and take part in the dinner to be hosted by Vice President Ansari at the Hyderabad House, before leaving for Mumbai.

His wife Jill will visit USAID 'Health of the Urban Poor' programme in Kachhpura, Agra, where she will interact with the workers and volunteers. She will also visit the Taj Mahal.

In Mumbai, Biden will deliver remarks on the US-India partnership at the Bombay Stock Exchange, which will be streamed live. Later, he is scheduled to meet the Indian business, trade and investment leaders.

On Thursday, Biden is scheduled to meet with the women staff of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay.

The Vice President will also tour IIT's research and education facilities to know about innovative programmes and research in the areas of nanotechnology and earth sciences.

The US Vice President will leave for Singapore from Mumbai on July 25.

Meanwhile, Jill Biden, on Wednesday, will visit the DILAASA Crisis Intervention Center at K B Bhabha Municipal Hospital. DILAASA is India's first hospital based anti-Gender Based Violence (GBV) centre.

Biden will tour the facility and meet the hospital officials, local and regional representatives, and the representatives of DILAASA's NGO partner CEHAT.

On Thursday she will visit the Anjuman-i-Islam's Saif Tyabji Girls School, an all-girls Muslim school founded in 1938 that caters to as many as 5,500 students.


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