United States' 47th Vice President Joe Biden is on his maiden visit (July 22-July 25) to India to make Indo-US ties the most important strategic partnership of the 21st century. Biden is accompanied by his wife Jill Jacobs Biden on a four-day long stay in India.
In 2008, the 70-year-old Vice President had visited New Delhi as a Senator. This time, Biden's "ambitious vision" visit is expected to focus on reviving momentum in flagging diplomatic ties and fire up bilateral trade with India.
Biden's India visit was announced last month by the Secretary of State John Kerry, making him the first US Vice President to visit India in three decades. Earlier, in 1966, Hubert Humphrey was the first US vice president to have visited India (to attend the funeral of Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri) followed by George HW Bush in 1984.
Since US President Barack Obama's November 2010 visit to India, Biden's visit is one of the most important event in boosting of the Indo-US relationship.
In Rio de Janeiro
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden poses for photos with children as he tours the Santa Marta slum, as a special force police officer stands by in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, May 30, 2013.
Vice President Joe Biden pats President Barack Obama after the president spoke about jobs for veterans during an event in the East Room of the White House in Washington.
In Vatican City
Pope Francis meets US Vice President Joe Biden after his installation Mass at the Vatican.
Vice President Joe Biden takes the oath of office during the 57th Presidential Inauguration official swearing-in ceremony at the Naval Observatory.
The broad array of issues to be discussed in an order to deepen India-US engagement includes economic and trade ties, energy and climate change; defense co-operation, security and investments in innovation and education and a wide range of regional co-operation.
One of the main agenda to be on the discussion table with India will be the US foreign policy towards the Asia-Pacific region, especially on Pakistan, Afghanistan and China.
Biden will hold talks on the common interest of both the US and India, i.e. Pakistan. It will be a great matter of interest to know about both nation's views on Pakistan, especially, under the newly-elected PML(N) government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and how it plans to curb terrorism in Pakistan.
According to the White House briefing, the US finds India (which has already spent more than two billion dollars of aid in Afghanistan) to be an "essential partner" in establishing peace, prosperity and stability in war-torn Afghanistan, by supporting economic development-at a significant level. US also seeks India's take on its decision of troops-withdrawal from Afghan, in coming months. Biden will also talk tough on the Taliban in an attempt to bring peace in Afghanistan.
On China's sovereignty claims in South China Sea and East China Sea regions, India and the US share nearly same views. While the US plays its card on "re-balancing policy" with China, at the same time, India needs to carefully analyse its own foreign-policy with China, keeping in mind the recent Chinese' troop incursion into the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
On boosting economic and trade ties: The two sides will focus on investment policy and intellectual property.
On energy and climate change: The Indo-US civilian nuclear cooperation agreement will be on the priority list of Biden.
On defense co-operation: After embarking upon several defence cooperation projects in South Asia and in Asia Pacific relating to maritime security and counter-terrorism, new defence projects will be discussed and reviewed.
During the visit:
In his scheduled visit, Biden will meet top leaders including his counter-part Hamid Ansari, President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj to discuss on bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest.
In his first day in Delhi, he will pay homage to the father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi at the Gandhi Smriti museum and later, on July 24, in the financial hub, Mumbai, he will meet the business leaders at a round table and deliver a policy speech at the Bombay Stock Exchange and interact with students.
In the meantime, his spouse, Jill Biden, who is an accomplished educator, will visit Agra for a health and nutrition event and to see the Taj Mahal.
Outcome of the visit: What is to be expected
Now, whether the Indo-US bilateral ties will be able to rise trade from current $100 billion to $500 billion, is one of the most crucial fruit reaped by Biden's visit.
Biden's purpose of visit will also lay a ground for upcoming crucial visit of Dr. Manmohan Singh to the US in September-October this year, where he will discuss key issues with the President Barack Obama.
In the second-leg of his official tour, Biden will head to Singapore on July 25.