US keen to boost economic, strategic engagement with India

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Washington, July 24: Asserting that President Barack Obama highly values US relationship with India, the White House has declared that it wants to continue to enhance US economic and strategic engagement with New Delhi.

That's the message Vice President Joe Biden, who is currently on a visit to India, is carrying "in his meetings with Indian officials," White House spokesman Jay Carneys said when asked if Biden was carrying a message from Obama.

However, he had "no announcements on travel or invitations" when asked if Biden was carrying an invitation from Obama to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to visit the US or when Obama himself planned to make a second visit to India.

"There are enormous opportunities for our two countries to work together and to work together even more closely than we have as this relationship has evolved in a positive direction now for so many years," Carney said.

In New Delhi

President Pranab Mukherjee with US Vice President, Joe Biden during a meeting at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Tuesday.

In New Delhi

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh shakes hands with US Vice President, Joe Biden during a meeting at 7 RCR in New Delhi on Tuesday.

In New Delhi

US Vice President, Joe Biden with Opposition leader in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj during a meeting in New Delhi on Tuesday.

In New Delhi

Vice President Hamid Ansari shakes hand with his US counterpart Joe Biden during their meeting at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Tuesday.

In Agra

US Vice President Joe Biden's wife Jill Biden administers polio drop to a child during a visit to USAID 'Health of the Urban Poor' programme in Kachhpura village near in Agra on Tuesday.

In Agra

US Vice President Joe Biden's wife Jill Biden arrives for a visit to USAID 'Health of the Urban Poor' programme in Kachhpura village near in Agra on Tuesday.

In Agra

US Vice president Joe Biden's wife Jill Biden is greeted at Kachhpura village during her visit to USAID 'Health of the Urban Poor' programme near in Agra on Tuesday.

In New Delhi

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with US Vice President, Joe Biden during a meeting at 7 RCR in New Delhi on Tuesday.

In New Delhi

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with US Vice President, Joe Biden during a meeting at 7 RCR in New Delhi on Tuesday.

In Agra

US Vice president Joe Biden's wife Jill with daughter Ashley and son-in-law Howard David Krein at historic Taj Mahal in Agra on Tuesday.

In Agra

US Vice president Joe Biden's wife Jill poses for photographers at the historic Taj Mahal in Agra on Tuesday.

Joe Biden with his wife Jill paying homage to Mahatma Gandhi

US Vice President Joe Biden with his wife Jill paying homage to Mahatma Gandhi during a visit to ''Gandhi Smriti'' in New Delhi on Monday. Tara Gandhi Bhattacharjee, grand daughter of Mahatma Gandhi, is seen at right.

Joe Biden with his wife Jill paying homage to Mahatma Gandhi

US Vice President Joe Biden with Tara Gandhi Bhattacharjee, grand daughter of Mahatma Gandhi, during a visit to ''Gandhi Smriti'' in New Delhi on Monday. US Ambassador to India Nancy Powell is also seen.

In New Delhi

US Vice President Joe Biden, with his wife Jill, gestures upon their arrival at AFS Palam in New Delhi on Monday.

There's a lot that Biden is discussing in India "when it comes to economic growth, trade, energy and climate change, as well as security issues and education issues," he said,

Before he departed, Biden was very much looking forward to his India trip, Carney said. "He and the President highly value our relationship with India, and are looking for ways to make it even stronger and more cooperative."

Asked about the issue of visas for highly skilled workers raised by top American companies at a recent meeting of the US-India Business Council, an advocacy group seeking stronger commercial relations with India, Carney said he was not aware of any specific issue.

"But one of the reasons that we need comprehensive immigration reform is to streamline our immigration practices for the sake of businesses that depend on and can utilize the talent of immigrants who bring new ideas and entrepreneurial spirit here to the United States," he said.

Meanwhile, State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said that Secretary of State John Kerry and Biden who "have a longstanding, close relationship that goes back literally decades, from working together in the Senate" had discussed his trip to India "and how much he (Kerry) enjoyed his time there."

IANS

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