Biden meets Indian leaders, wants trade bottlenecks removed

US stressed the need for removal of bottlenecks to enhance trade ties with India and emphasised on the reforms process to encourage business.

New Delhi: US on Tuesday stressed the need for removal of bottlenecks to enhance trade ties with India and emphasised on the reforms process to encourage business as Vice President Joseph Biden held meetings with top Indian leadership, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Biden, who arrived here yesterday on a four-day maiden visit, held comprehensive talks with Singh after which, sources said, the Prime Minister will undertake a bilateral visit to the US from third week of September and will meet President Barack Obama apart from attending the UN General Assembly in New York.

The probable dates mentioned are September 20-26 but there is no confirmation.

According to the sources, the two sides discussed ways to boost trade ties, with Biden expressing concerns of American companies and stressing on the need to remove hurdles to do business here.

On his part, Singh also emphasised the need for greater commercial engagement for India to meet its own quest for economic growth.

The Cumulative FDI Equity Inflows from the US during the period April 2000 to January 2012 amounted to about USD 10.36 billion, constituting 6 per cent of the total FDI into India.

The two leaders also discussed the situation in the region with Biden describing US withdrawal plans from Afghanistan and future strategy for the peace and stability there, the sources said, adding another important component of their talks was energy, including supply of LNG from the US.

Singh and Biden discussed a whole range of issues, including implementation of the landmark civil nuclear deal and ways to enhance commerce, the sources said. The two leaders agreed to take these issues forward.

In this context, the Prime Minister told Biden that he looks forward to meeting Obama in September, the sources said.

During the meeting with Biden, Singh conveyed his best wishes to Obama.

The US Vice President started his day with a meeting with his Indian counterpart Hamid Ansari during which they had a wide ranging discussion on various aspects of bilateral relations as well as regional issues including Afghanistan.

During the meeting, Ansari spoke of the need for
continuous attention for building the partnership that is based on shared values and on his part Biden also emphasised that enhanced economic engagement was in the interest of both countries, sources said.

Biden also outlined President Obama`s and his own personal commitment and interest in expansion of India-US bilateral relations and referred to India`s own Look East policy and its complementarity with the US re-balancing towards Asia.

The two Vice Presidents also reviewed the regional situation especially the entire gamut of issues relating to Afghanistan.

The Vice President also called on President Pranab Mukherjee and held meetings with Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj.

Before his scheduled departure for Mumbai, Biden attended the dinner by Ansari hosted in his honour.


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