India, Japan in talks with Russia to create trilateral & push Modi’s ‘Act Far East’ policy

By The Print

India, along with Japan, is now looking to provide a major boost to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Act Far East’ policy by kick-starting a trilateral arrangement with Russia this year under the larger Indo-Pacific framework, ThePrint has learnt.

This India-Russia-Japan trilateral is being explored to give fruition to New Delhi’s vision of making the Indo-Pacific strategic initiative “inclusive and not just against one country”, sources told ThePrint.

According to sources, this trilateral cooperation will also be seen as an expansion plan of the Quad grouping, which consists of India, Japan, Australia and the US while furthering Prime Minister Modi’s plan to develop the Russian Far East for which New Delhi had even announced a credit line of $1 billion in September 2019 during his visit to Vladivostok.

A Track-II dialogue on the trilateral took place last week between the think-tanks of the three countries for the first time. It was hosted by the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA), which was partnered by the Economic Research Institute for Northeast Asia (ERINA) from Japan and the Far East Investment and Export Agency (FEIEA) of Russia.

According to an outcome document of the dialogue, this trilateral grouping is exploring cooperation in the areas of economic, social and regional issues while also harnessing economic opportunities in the Russian Far East for mutual benefit.

The trilateral cooperation may also look into the “growing links” of these three countries in the Arctic “recognising the interconnected nature of regional development alongside the Russian Far East”, the document states.

D.B. Venkatesh Varma, Indian Ambassador to Russia, while addressing the Russian media Monday said that the trilateral Track-II dialogue can be seen as a “major offshoot” of Modi’s Act Far East policy, including its outreach in the Arctic region.

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