India’s ‘Look East’ policy helps US Asia approach,says Biden

Biden,who arrived here on Monday on a four-day visit,met Vice-President Hamid Ansari.

Written by Shubhajit Roy | New Delhi | Published: July 24, 2013 2:43:59 am

Visiting US Vice-President Joe Biden on Tuesday conveyed to the Indian leadership President Barack Obama’s and his “personal commitment and interest” in the expansion of India-US relations. He said that New Delhi’s Look East policy was complementary to America’s “re-balancing towards Asia”.

Biden,who arrived here on Monday on a four-day visit,met Vice-President Hamid Ansari and held talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Pranab Mukherjee.

During the hour-long meeting with the PM,Biden referred to “India’s Look East policy as complimentary with the US’s re-balancing towards Asia”,sources said.

Singh and Biden discussed a wide range of issues. The PM underlined the significance of economic exchange between the two countries. There were discussions on energy,innovation as well as on Afghanistan and the neighbourhood. “They also discussed on how to take forward the commercial aspects of the civil nuclear agreement between the two countries,” sources said.

During talks with Ansari,Biden emphasised that enhanced economic engagement was in the interest of both the countries. Ansari emphasised the vibrancy of bilateral relationship which,he said,have “grown from strength to strength”. He said the areas of agreement between the two sides are considerable and expanding,and also highlighted that “huge segments of the Indian population were extremely supportive of improved relations”,said a source.

During his meeting with President Pranab Mukherjee,Biden said that India-US relations is critical not just for the two countries but also for the entire region.

“The issue is no longer what the US can do for India but what the two countries can do together in the world. No other two countries have so much at stake or in common in the emerging global scenario,” Biden is learnt to have told Mukherjee.

Mukherjee told Biden that New Delhi appreciated his strong voice of support for India-related issues in the Senate,including the Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement. “India accords the highest priority to its relationship with the US. India-US relations are based on shared fundamental values and a growing convergence of interests,” Mukherjee is understood to have told Biden.

Biden also met UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha,Sushma Swaraj.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is expected to travel to the US in September-October.

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