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Indo-Pacific Trilateral Dialogue

  • 10 Sep 2020
  • 5 min read

Why in News

Recently, India, Australia and France held a dialogue for the first time under a trilateral framework. The three sides have agreed to hold the dialogue on an annual basis.

Key Points

  • Focus: Enhancing cooperation in the Indo-Pacific Region. Australia, along with France, has emerged as a major strategic partner for India in the Indo-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region (IOR), especially in the maritime domain. For instance:
    • India has logistics agreements with both countries. The logistics agreement provides for easier access to supplies of goods and services.
    • There is significant cooperation in information exchange for Maritime Domain Awareness.
    • India conducted its first joint patrols with France in Reunion Island (western Indian ocean) in February 2020.
  • Chinese Factor:
    • The trilateral cooperation will help to take on China's aggressive behaviour in the Indo-Pacific region. E.g in South China Sea.
    • This trilateral cooperation is an addition to the Quad which comprises the USA, Japan, Australia and India.
    • It also adds diplomatic muscle to the global coalition that is shaping up to counter China's belligerence.
  • Issues Discussed:
    • Possibility of enhancing maritime security cooperation between the three countries in the Indo-Pacific region.
      • It also includes areas of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, maritime domain awareness, mutual logistics support and capacity-building of friendly countries.
    • Development cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, initiatives such as the International Solar Alliance and Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure, and the need for a reformed multilateralism.
    • Cooperation on marine global commons. It includes blue economy, marine biodiversity and environmental challenges such as marine pollution.
    • Practical cooperation at the trilateral and regional level, including through regional organisations such as Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) and the Indian Ocean Commission.
    • The increased salience of resilient and reliable supply chains.
    • Emerging challenges in the context of Covid-19 pandemic, including the financial impact of the pandemic on the Indian Ocean region countries.

Significance of the Indo-Pacific Region

  • In 2018 Shangrila Dialogue India had clearly indicated the geographical reach of India’s idea of the Indo-Pacific, which starts from Africa to the America, which covers both the Indian and Pacific Oceans, in tandem with that of Japan.
  • It is a very rich region in terms of natural resources (fisheries, oil, gas) as well as mineral resources.
  • Trade of some of the major economies like China, Japan, Korea or the west coast of the United States goes through this region.
  • About 50% of India’s trade is conducted through the South China Sea. India has been one of the major players in the region. India conducts many naval exercises with the United States, countries of ASEAN, Japan, Korea and Vietnam.
  • The international community including India wants freedom of navigation, freedom of over flights in the region.

Way Forward

  • France and Australia are India’s key partners in the Indo-Pacific region. The meeting provided a unique opportunity to build upon the progress that the three countries have achieved bilaterally in recent years.

Source: IE

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