Biden Starts Swing Through Southwest Asia

VP-elect in Pakistan today; expected to visit India, Afghanistan
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 9, 2009 5:45 AM CST
Joe Biden has a word with Vice President Dick Cheney during ceremonial swearing-in, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2009, in the Old Senate Chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
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(Newser) – Joe Biden arrived in Pakistan today at the start of a tour of Southwest Asia, AFP reports. The vice-president-elect is leading a congressional delegation that includes Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham. Talks with President Asif Ali Zardari and other Pakistani leaders are likely to focus on the war on terror and relations with India, expected to be Biden's next stop.

Biden has stressed that he is visiting Asia as a senator rather than as a representative of the incoming administration, but analysts say the visit will carry a lot more weight in light of Obama's promise to shift the focus of the war on terror to the region. Biden's office is keeping his itinerary under wraps for security reasons, although the senator himself recently told reporters he would be visiting Iraq and Afghanistan as well as Pakistan.