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Biden talks trade, security with Indian PM
July 23, 2013, 5:20 pm

Biden met the Indian President in New Delhi on Tuesday [AP]

Biden met the Indian President in New Delhi on Tuesday [AP]

US Vice President Joe Biden met the Indian Prime minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi on Tuesday, holding talks on trade, investment, energy and security.

He also met the president, the vice-president and a top opposition leader.

Biden is on a four-day trip to India and is set to address members of the business community in India’s industrial capital Mumbai.

During talks with the Indian prime minister, Biden expressed concerns of American companies and stressed on the need to remove hurdles to do business in India.

Singh suggested there was a need for greater commercial engagement for India to meet its own quest for economic growth.

US business firms have raised concerns about the Indian economy and the challenges of working in a fluctuating policy environment.

More than 40 American business organisations on Tuesday wrote a letter to the US vice president alleging India imposes regulations that restrict US industries’ ability to compete against the country’s unfair advantage.

Saeed Naqvi, senior Indian journalist and foreign policy expert says that the economic politics unfolding in the global stage are at a critical juncture.

“It is interesting to see that capitalism, especially the American kind, still requires a high level of state intervention. Emerging economies, inspite of all their recent troubles are registering better growth rates than developed economies,” Naqvi told The BRICS Post.

Naqvi also observed that Biden is laying ground for post 2014 climate, since India is going in for general elections soon.

“He is preparing ground for easier FDI norms once the new government takes office. From the incumbent government, whatever best under the circumstances could have been achieved has already been achieved. The UPA in general, and the largest group in UPA, Congress, is a big votary for liberal economics and prime minister Singh has not kept it a secret,” Naqvi told The BRICS Post.

Indian Finance Minister P Chidambaram and Commerce Minister Anand Sharma have just concluded a trip to the US to boost FDI prospects for India.

The US vice president is also expected to push for more arms purchase from the United States, and talks on a key defence technology initiative.

A report in an Indian business daily, Business Standard, says the Indian defence ministry is wary of strengthening defence ties with the US.

“Indian Defence ministry (MoD) officials suspect that the US offer is motivated by the desire to capture the Indian market for these weapons systems, by getting in through the back door,” writes Ajai Shukla.

Afghanistan was high on the agenda during talks on regional security issues on Tuesday.

India is especially keen to understand the US strategy in Afghanistan after a withdrawal of its forces set for next year.

India’s anxiety over the role the Taliban could play in Afghanistan, where India has made significant investments over the last couple of years, was also discussed.

“We have been clear that if the Taliban are to have any role in Afghanistan’s political future, they will need to break ties with al Qaeda, stop supporting violence and accept the Afghan constitution as part of the outcomes of any negotiated peace settlement,” Biden said in an interview to an Indian daily ahead of his visit.

The Indian prime minister will undertake a bilateral visit to the US from third week of September and will meet President Barack Obama during his trip.

The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies

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