New Delhi will host the strategically important trilateral dialogue between India, Japan and the US this week ahead of the summit between US President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Mar-a-Lago later this month, the State Department has said. The Trump administration has sent two of its senior diplomats from the State Department — Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Alice Wells and Acting Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Susan Thornton –- to co-lead the American delegation for the trilateral dialogue.
The crucial dialogue between the three leading democratic powers of the Indo-Pacific region on Wednesday comes a fortnight ahead of the Trump-Abe summit at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Florida resort. During the two-day summit on April 17 and 18, the two leaders will reaffirm the US-Japan alliance as a cornerstone of peace, stability, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region, the White House said today.
While Wells has just returned from Pakistan, Thorton completed her trip to Malaysia before heading to New Delhi where she attended the US-ASEAN Dialogue to engage on regional security and economic issues. On April 6, Wells will participate in the India-US Forum, hosted by the Ananta Centre and the Ministry of External Affairs. During her visit, she will also meet with senior Indian government officials to discuss regional and global issues and representatives from the private sector, the State Department said.
The India-Japan-US trilateral was launched in December 2011 when Hillary Clinton was the Secretary of State. For the first several rounds the trilateral was held at the director or assistant secretary level.
It was elevated to ministerial level in 2015. The inaugural ministerial trilateral was held on September 29, 2015, in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly Session. It was hosted by the then US Secretary of State John Kerry. The External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida represented their respective countries.
The last ministerial dialogue was also held in New York in September 2017.