Washington, DC – Following closely on the footsteps of US Secretary of State John Kerry, the US Vice President Joe Biden is heading to New Delhi for what officials in the US capital call a reiterating of an “ambitious vision for India,” after the US famously called for a re-pivoting in the Asia Pacific region.
Citing the speech delivered by the vice president at George Washington University on Thursday in which Biden laid out the American vision for moving forward with the Asia Pacific rebalance policy that President Barack Obama announced and which is being pursued by his administration, a senior US administration official said, “India is obviously a key player and increasingly so in the Asia Pacific region. And the United States and India have an increasingly important bilateral relationship as our countries grow and deepen the ties across an incredibly broad range of areas.”
Senior administration officials briefing journalists on the upcoming trip identified four areas that Vice President Biden will focus on in his discussions with Indian leaders:
1. Economic cooperation, with a focus on issues from investment policy to intellectual property and efforts to increase bilateral trade
2. Energy and climate, to realize the promise of the civil nuclear agreement, and to address the global challenge of climate change
3. Defense cooperation, to build a stronger edifice and deeper cooperation on the existing strong foundation in defense cooperation and defense sales
4. A wide range of regional cooperation, both in South Asia and in East Asia, relating to maritime security and to counterterrorism
”The vice president will set up an ambitious agenda for US-India cooperation, not just for years ahead, but decades ahead,” the official said.
Biden, who will be accompanied by his wife Dr. Jill Biden, will arrive in New Delhi on Monday (July 22) and visit the Gandhi Smirti Museum to show his respect both to Gandhi and to India’s modern history.
The next day, July 23rd, Biden will meet with Vice President Ansari, Sushma Swaraj of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), the main opposition party, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, and President Pranab Mukherjee, then will attend a dinner hosted by Vice President Ansari, along with an array of Indian officials and citizens from the private sector.
On Wednesday, July 24th, the American vice president is scheduled to deliver a policy speech at the Bombay Stock Exchange and will hold a roundtable discussion with business leaders.
Elaborating on the policy speech, the official projected it will be “a speech geared not towards policymakers or government officials, but towards the people of India.”
With the increasing strategic convergence, Biden is set to define key interests and how to pursue them — maritime security and freedom of navigation, stability which can create regional integration and growth for all of the countries of the region; and strong institutions and rules of the road.
On the 25th, he’ll hold a women’s empowerment event at the India Institute of Technology (IIT Bombay) in Mumbai before departing for Singapore. Asked to comment on the IIT speech, the official said it will focus on the growing potential and promise of young women in Indian society, business, science and technology.
Moreover, Biden will take a tour of facilities at IIT and engage in a “roundtable with young women to highlight the progress that’s been made and to champion further progress, and also to talk about the United States’ experience with the growing participation of women in the science, technology, engineering and math fields,” added the official.
Dr. Jill Biden, the wife of Vice President Biden, will be participating in a health and nutrition event in the Kachhupura community in Agra, as well as touring the Taj Mahal without the vice president. While In Mumbai, she’ll be participating in a health and nutrition event in the Thane district and a gender-based violence event at DILASA in the Bhabha hospital to learn how this one-stop crisis center is using global best practices to serve victims of gender-based violence.
In Mumbai, Dr. Biden will participate in a girls education event at the Anjuman-il-Islam school for girls, stop by an English class, take a tour, and then give brief remarks at an assembly about the importance of education and the opportunities that education can provide to the young girls.