A top United States official announced that the first ever India-U.S.-Japan trilateral is likely to be held before the end of 2011. This week the State Department confirmed that it was working with the governments of India and Japan to schedule this “important gathering to discuss regional issues.”

On Friday U.S. Deputy Secretary William Burns said in a speech here that that India's “Look East” policy towards a growing comprehensive vision for the East Asia region was becoming an “Act East” policy.

In this context the U.S. and India in 2010 launched a Strategic Dialogue on the Asia-Pacific “to ensure that the world's two largest democracies pursue strategies that reinforce one another.” The new U.S.-India-Japan trilateral consultation on regional issues followed from that discussion, Mr. Burns suggested.

Reflecting on the broader common interests of the U.S. and India in the region, Mr. Burns said, the U.S. hoped that India would join it in strengthening Asia's regional institutions “from the East Asia Summit to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), where India already trades nearly as much in goods as it does with the U.S.”

An architecture of free trade and investment that connects India to Southeast and East Asia would have a profound impact on global trade and economic growth, Mr. Burns added.

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