Washington: As India,
United States and Japan held their first trilateral meeting here,
Washington and Tokyo affirmed a deepening of strategic ties with
India and made it clear the dialogue was not directed against
In fact after a meeting with visiting Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba Monday shortly before the official level
trilateral, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Washington
supported a similar trilateral meeting between US, Japan and China
as proposed by Tokyo.
"The United States supports a meeting between Japan, China, and
ourselves, as Foreign Minister Gemba recently proposed," she said
at a press conference after the meeting which "covered global
issues like Iran's nuclear ambitions and the situation in
Echoing Clinton, Gemba citing the Japan-US-India trilateral
dialogue "as a specific example of collaboration" said: "On India,
as the Secretary suggested, we affirmed that Japan and the United
States are deepening strategic relationship with India."
The meeting, at officials' level, was co-chaired by Assistant
Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Robert Blake and
Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs
Kurt Campbell. India was represented by Jawed Ashraf and Gautam
Bambawale, joint secretaries in charge of Americas and East Asia
Later in a press release, the Indian embassy said at their first
ever trilateral dialogue the three sides "exchanged views on a
wide range of regional and global issues of mutual interest.
"These discussions mark the beginning of a series of consultations
among our three governments, who share common values and interests
across the Asia-Pacific and the globe.
"All sides welcomed the frank and comprehensive nature of the
discussions, and agreed the talks help advance their shared values
and interests," it said.
The group agreed to meet again in Tokyo in 2012 to continue their
Driven by Tokyo and finalised during then foreign secretary
Nirupama Rao's visit to Japan in April 2010, the dialogue is also
part of New Delhi's effort to go beyond the stated Look East
policy and engage North Asia as well.
The trilateral has been in the making for a long time, but the
first meeting cane at a time when China is becoming increasingly
assertive in East Asia and the US is seeking to ramp up its
engagement with the Asia-Pacific region that includes some of the
fast-growing economies in the world.
Meanwhile, Hemant K Singh, former Indian ambassador to Japan and
Karl F Inderfurth, former US assistant secretary of state for
South Asian affairs, who have been part of the track II trilateral
meetings said in a commentary that "relations between the three
(nations) are in a transformational stage."
The Washington trilateral "provides an opportunity to begin the
process of operationalising Indo-Pacific cooperation as a seamless
construct in areas such as maritime security cooperation,
counter-terrorism, counter-piracy, counter-proliferation, disaster
relief and humanitarian assistance," they said.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)