With a focus on better coordination on Indo-Pacific, a trilateral meet was held among India, France, and Australia on Wednesday (February 24) at the senior officials’ level. Remember, the three sides had held the first Foreign Secretary-level Trilateral Dialogue in September of 2020. All three countries are key supports of the Indo-Pacific vision.
The Indian side was led by Joint Secretary (Europe West) in MEA, Sandeep Chakravorty, while the French side was led by Bertrand Lortholary, Director (Asia and Oceania), and the Australian side was led by Mr Gary Cowan, First Assistant Secretary (North and South Asia Division) and Mr John Geering, First Assistant Secretary (Europe and Latin America Division).
Other key focus areas were greater maritime domain awareness of Indo Pacific countries, Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations, oil spill management, and disaster resilience of small island states.
Earlier in January, new US defense secretary Lloyd Austin and the Indian defence minister Rajnath Singh spoke in what is the first official and public contact between the Indian govt and the new Biden administration. During the call, which was made from the US side, there was a reaffirmation of the Indo Pacific vision, backed by both Washington and Delhi.
The fact that the US side reaffirmed its position on Indo Pacific, show no change of sentiment in Washington on the vision. It is given that China remained another focus area of the talks.