Wednesday, October 31, 2012

India, Japan, US trilateral to focus on Myanmar, Afghanistan and Africa

At the third trilateral meeting of India, Japan and the United States, it has been decided that the three countries will contribute and help in improving the economic development of Myanmar, Afghanistan and Africa. The meeting was held in New Delhi.  This was disclosed by the MEA spokesman Akbaruddin in response to a query from a journalist, Seema Guha of Bengal Post.
The choice of the three beneficiary countries is interesting. Frankly, Japan and India are not bothered about Myanmar, though India could at a pinch see the advantages of contributing to the developmental and economic needs of its eastern neighbour. Myanmar is the 10th member of ASEAN. Though the ASEAN is generally pro-American, Washington could not convince ASEAN to keep Myanmar our in the late 1990s. After having failed to isolate and ostracise, it seems the Americans want to engage Myanmar. Right now, it is only China that is offering economic aid to the military government which has partially restored democracy to the country and freed opposition leader of National League for Democracy (NLD), Aung San Suu Kyi, who was kept under arrest for 18 years and who was freed last year. The Americans have seemed to realised the need to engage Myanmar.
The decision of the three countries to help Afghanistan is understandable. At least, the United and States and India has stakes in the economic prosperity of Afghanistan. The Americans have spent billions and kept thousands of troops in Afghanistan after driving out the Taliban regime in November 2001 after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks on New York and Washington. India is concerned because it feels that Islamic terror is percolating into India because of the fanatic Sunni elements of the Taliban, which Pakistan facilitates to needle India. Japan again has to agree with other two because it has no strategic stakes in Kabul.
The choice of Africa is rather vague. Africa has more than 50 countries. The three countries want to engage in the development of Africa.  Again, this might be to counter the now well-established sphere of influence of China in many of the African countries.
Perhaps, India, Japan and the United States will work in tandem in these three hot spots.
Apparently the trilateral initiative was started only last year with the first meeting taking place in Tokyo last December and second one in Washington in April this year.


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