Osaka: India, Japan and the US Friday held extensive discussions on the Indo-Pacific region and how they can work together in improving the connectivity, infrastructure development and ensuring peace in the strategic region where China has been trying to spread its influence.
The Indo-Pacific region was the main topic of discussion during the Japan-India-America (JAI) Trilateral Meeting of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, US President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the sidelines of the G20 Summit.
“Today’s meeting of the JAI Trilateral was a productive one. We had extensive discussions on the Indo-Pacific region, improving connectivity and infrastructure development. Grateful to PM @AbeShinzo and President @realDonaldTrump for sharing their views as well,” Prime Minister Modi tweeted.
Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale, briefing the media after the meeting, said, “It was a very productive meeting and the main topic of the discussion was the Indo-Pacific, about how the three countries can work together in terms of connectivity, in terms of infrastructure, in terms of ensuring that peace and security is maintained and in terms of working together to build upon this new concept so that it benefits the region as a whole and for the three countries of course.”
The US has been pushing for a broader role by India in the strategically important Indo-Pacific region that contributes two-thirds of global growth in gross domestic product (GDP) and accounts for 60 per cent of the global GDP.
India, the US and several other world powers have been talking about the need to ensure a free, open and thriving Indo-Pacific in the backdrop of China’s rising military maneuvering in the region.
China has been trying to expand its military presence in the Indo-Pacific, which is a biogeographic region, comprising the Indian Ocean and the western and central Pacific Ocean, including the South China Sea.
China claims almost all of the South China Sea. Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have counter claims over the sea.
Last month, top officials of the US, Japan, India and Australia met in Bangkok and held consultations on their collective efforts for a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific and reaffirmed their shared commitment to preserving and promoting the rules-based order in the region.
In November 2017, India, the US, Australia and Japan gave shape to the long-pending ‘Quad’ Coalition to develop a new strategy for keeping the critical sea routes in the Indo-Pacific free of any influence.