US Vice President Biden leaves for India

Washington: US Vice President Joe Biden today 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.