New Delhi : Against the backdrop of increased Chinese assertiveness in the South China Sea, India, the US and Japan will hold their third trilateral dialogue here Monday to expand their cooperation in maritime security and in shaping the Asia-Pacific architecture.
During the talks, the Indian delegation will be led by Gautam Bambawale, joint secretary in charge of East Asia in the external affairs ministry. The US delegation will be led by Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Robert Blake, while Deputy Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Kenji Hiramatsu will head the Japanese delegation in the talks.
The three countries, projected as the three leading Pacific democracies, are expected to discuss issues related to maritime security, anti-piracy cooperation and intensified consultations on a cluster of regional issues, including the flux in Afghanistan and Myanmar.
Ahead of the forthcoming East Asia summit in Cambodia, the three sides will be exchanging views on the evolving security architecture in East Asia, which has acquired an added traction in view of increased Chinese assertiveness in the region.
The US is seeking to rope in India as the lynchpin of its strategy in its so-called pivot towards Asia which envisages a more proactive role for New Delhi in the region. India will be seeking greater clarity from the US on the so-called pivot strategy, said informed sources.
Although the three countries have denied that the trilateral was targeted at any third country - an all-too-obvious reference to China - Beijing will be the elephant in the room when officials of the three countries will hold the talks.