India, Japan, Oz reassure Asean of support in Indo-Pacific area

India, Japan, Oz reassure Asean of support in Indo-Pacific area

India, Japan and Australia reassured Asean that the quad they recently launched with the  US to contain China would not undermine the Southeast Asian bloc's centrality in the Indo-Pacific area.

Top diplomats of India, Japan and Australia met in New Delhi on Wednesday. They underscored the three nations'  "support for Asean centrality in the political and security architecture of the Indo-Pacific region," the Ministry of External Affairs said in a press release issued after the trilateral talks.

Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar hosted his Australian and Japanese counterparts, Frances Adamson and Shinsuke J Sugiyama, for the fourth trilateral talks in New Delhi.

They highlighted the "growing convergence" of the interests of the three nations in the Indo-Pacific region and underscored their shared commitment to peace, democracy, economic growth and a rules-based order in the region".

India, Japan and Australia held the trilateral meeting just a month after they joined the  US to relaunch a quadrilateral dialogue on Indo-Pacific.

The quad was first launched in 2007, but it lost momentum soon. It was re-launched on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit in Manila on November 12.

The move was apparently aimed at creating a bulwark against China and countering the hegemonic aspirations of the Communist country in Indo-Pacific.

It, however, also triggered apprehensions within Asean (Association of South-East Asian Nations) over the possibility of  a four-nation initiative undermining the centrality of the 10-nation bloc in the political and security architecture of the region.

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi set to host the leaders of all the 10 Asean nations next month, New Delhi  is keen to allay the concerns of the Southeast Asian nations.

India on Wednesday got Japan and Australia to join it to reassure Asean that the three nations would continue to support the Southeast Asian bloc's centrality in the region notwithstanding their move to re-launch the quad with the US.

The top diplomats of India, Japan and Australia also stressed on "the need for greater collaboration on maritime security and domain awareness and disaster response capabilities".

They 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.

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