India, US, Japan discuss Africa, Myanmar, Afghanistan

India, US, Japan discuss Africa, Myanmar, Afghanistan

Key aspects of developmental co-operation in Myanmar, Afghanistan and Africa came up for discussion at the third round of India-US-Japan Trilateral dialogue held here on Monday.

 Senior officials from the three countries discussed Myanmar which included maritime security and a route through the middle or north of Myanmar leading up to Hanoi. Another issue that came up for discussion was South China Sea over which China and Japan have ongoing disputes. Japan briefed the meeting on its stand on the issue.

India briefed the meeting over its initiative on the trilateral connectivity initiative with Myanmar and Thailand. It is expected that the issue will figure during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Phnom Penh in November.

As regards maritime security, the officials discussed co-operation which will be taken forward in the next round of discussions likely to be held in Washington DC, possibly early next year. The exchanges also touched upon strategic overview of the Asia Pacific. India and USA laid stress on issues covering the Gulf of Aden to the South China Sea while Japan spoke on its dispute with China over the Senkaku islands. Briefing reporters on the meeting, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said the officials discussed the coming East Asia summit and Association of South East Asian Nations the (Asean). All three countries along with China, South Korea, New Zealand, Australia and Russia are dialogue partners of the 10-member Asean.

Favoured effort

The meeting appreciated India’s developmental works in Africa and favoured a collaborative effort by  all sides in some key projects in the continent. Piracy in Africa was another major issue that was the subject of the talks. On Afghanistan, the three countries expressed satisfaction over providing economic assistance to Afghanistan.

At the meeting, the US briefed about its much-talked about policy of “pivot to Asia”, an American move driven by the allure of emerging Asian economies, especially China and India. Iran’s nuclear programme was also discussed.

The Monday meeting marks the completion of a cycle of talks that began with the first meeting in Washington in December last year followed by the next one in Tokyo this April.
 While the Indian delegation was led by MEA Joint Secretary (East Asia) Gautam Bambawale, the Japanese delegation was led by Deputy Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Kenji Hiramatsu and the US delegation by Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Robert Blake.