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United States, India renew efforts to boost bilateral ties

First published: July 24, 2013, 1:42 AM IST | Updated: July 24, 2013
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United States, India renew efforts to boost bilateral ties
Joe Biden's trip will lay the groundwork for a summit meeting between Manmohan Singh and Barack Obama in Washington in September.

US Vice President Joe Biden and India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh held talks in the Indian capital on Tuesday as part of a renewed effort to strengthen ties between the two countries. The meeting came just weeks after US Secretary of State John Kerry came to India to lead a strategic dialogue between the nations. The pair of high-profile meetings signal increasing efforts to upgrade bilateral relations as the US lays out its plans to rebalance its foreign policy toward the Asia-Pacific.

Biden's trip will also lay the groundwork for a summit meeting between Singh and President Barack Obama in Washington in September 2013. Indian officials said the two discussed a raft of issues, including ways to boost trade and ease bottlenecks preventing American companies from investing in the Indian market.

They also talked about the hurdles in implementing a landmark civil nuclear agreement that the countries ratified in 2008. India has said foreign nuclear companies operating in the country should assume nearly unlimited liability for accidents, a stringent condition that makes it all but impossible for foreign nuclear firms to set up nuclear power plants in India.

Regional security, especially in war-torn Afghanistan, and New Delhi's concerns about the possibility of the Taliban returning to power in Kabul post-2014, were also discussed during the 75-minute meeting.
The US increasingly views India as a partner in developing Afghanistan, where New Delhi has provided $2 billion in assistance. Washington wants India to play a more active role in training Afghan security forces as the US and its NATO allies withdraw combat forces by 2014.

Later on Tuesday, Biden will attend a banquet in his honor hosted by his Indian counterpart before leaving for Mumbai, India's financial hub.