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Biden to Discuss Diplomatic Ties, Economy in India

Vice President Joe Biden, speaks during a meeting with representatives of the law enforcement community to discuss immigration reform, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington, July 19, 2013.
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is expected in India Monday for a four-day visit meant to focus on diplomatic ties and economic issues.

Biden is expected to meet with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi before moving on to Mumbai to address economic issues with business leaders there.

In an interview published Monday by The Times of India, Biden said he wants to see an acceleration in bilateral trade, which he said is expected to reach $100 billion this year.

During his visit the vice president is expected to address Indian security fears about the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and a possible resurgence of Taliban power.

He is likely also to discuss proposals in the U.S. Congress to curb visas for high-tech workers from overseas, a cause for concern in India's technical industry.

In the Times interview Biden said the U.S. has been clear that if the Taliban are to have any role in Afghanistan's political future, they must break ties with al-Qaida, stop supporting violence, and accept the Afghan Constitution. He vowed that the United States will continue working with Afghanistan to ensure that it never again becomes a safe haven for terrorists.

He also answered a question about the U.S. relationship with Pakistan by noting that the U.S. is "encouraged" by Pakistan's recent elections that, for the first time, transferred power from one democratically elected Pakistani administration to another. He said the U.S. looks forward to working with Pakistan on a shared agenda that includes counterterrorism, support for economic growth, and "close consultations" on regional issues, including Afghanistan.