A 3-nation Indo-Pacific compact

S. Jaishankar with his Australian counterpart, Frances Adamson, and others.Special Arrangement

S. Jaishankar with his Australian counterpart, Frances Adamson, and others.Special Arrangement  

India, Japan and Australia agree to greater collaboration on maritime security

India, Japan and Australia have “growing convergences” in the Indo-Pacific region, said officials of the three countries after meeting for a trilateral in New Delhi on Wednesday.

“The three sides stressed the need for greater collaboration on maritime security and domain awareness and disaster response capabilities. They also renewed their resolve to fight the scourge of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and stressed the need for enhanced cooperation on counter-terrorism,” a statement issued by the External Affairs Ministry said.

Connectivity issues

Briefing presspersons after the meeting, Australian Foreign Secretary Frances Adamson said the three countries had discussed regional connectivity issues, at the meeting.

“Each of us has a very strong commitment to transparency around these projects, financing arrangements scrutiny, environmental standards and labour standards. Irrespective of under whose auspices these projects are held under,” Ms. Adamson said, when asked if concerns about China’s Belt and Road initiative, which India opposes, had been discussed.

The fourth trilateral between Foreign Secretaries S. Jaishankar and his counterparts, Ms. Adamson and Japanese Vice-Minister Shinsuke Sugiyama, was held in Delhi a month after the first meeting of the Quadrilateral, or Quad, which includes the U.S., was held in Manila. Ms. Adamson said the two processes would continue to “exist together”.

Significantly, the statement issued after the trilateral also underlined “support for ASEAN centrality in the political and security architecture of the Indo-Pacific region”, indicating the possibility of trilateral military cooperation along with East Asian nations as well.

ASEAN-India summit

India is hosting a commemorative ASEAN-India summit in Delhi on January 25, while all 10 ASEAN-nation leaders will be the chief guests at the coming Republic Day parade.

Sources said the theme of the engagement this year would focus on the three “C’s” of Commerce, Connectivity and Culture, and would also underline similar convergence on issues in the Indo-Pacific, as the East Pacific-Indian Ocean region is popularly referred to.

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