India, Japan and the US: A Stable Three-Legged Stool?

From the CG:

Read this Japan Times essay on the power balance in Asia by Brahma Chellaney, Professor of Strategic Studies at the Centre for Policy Research, an independent think tank in New Delhi. Chellaney writes:

At a time when Asia is troubled by growing security challenges, trilateral U.S.-India-Japan security consultations and cooperation are also taking place. These three democratic powers recently held their third round of security consultations in New Delhi, after similar meetings earlier in Washington and Tokyo.

These consultations are just one sign of their shift from emphasizing shared values to seeking to trilaterally protect shared interests. Their trilateral cooperation could lead to trilateral coordination, with a potentially positive impact on Asian security and stability.

More broadly, the nascent trilateral security cooperation may signal moves to form an entente among the three leading democracies of the Asia-Pacific, along the lines of the pre-World War I Franco-British-Russian “Triple Entente,” which was designed to meet the challenge posed by the rise of an increasingly assertive Germany. The present steps, however, are still tentative, and meaningful trilateral security collaboration can emerge only in response to important shifts in the U.S., Japanese and Indian strategic policies, including a readiness to build trilateral military interoperability.

Such an entente’s geopolitical utility, however, is likely to transcend its military value. A geopolitical entente, for example, can help strengthen maritime security in the Indo-Pacific region — the world’s leading trade and energy seaway — and contribute to building a stable Asian power equilibrium.

A fast-rising Asia has become the defining fulcrum of global geopolitical change. Asian policies and challenges now help to shape the international security and economic environment. Yet Asia, paradoxically, is bearing the greatest impact of such shifts, as underscored by the resurgence of Cold War-era territorial and maritime disputes.

A constellation of powers linked by interlocking bilateral, trilateral, and possibly even quadrilateral strategic cooperation has thus become critical to help institute power stability in Asia and to ensure a peaceful maritime domain, including unimpeded freedom of navigation.

Further maneuvers to contain China?

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