India to deepen ties with Asia Pacific region

Washington: Ahead of the India-Japan-US trilateral scheduled in Washington later this month, a top Indian diplomat here termed the Asia-Pacific region as the "center of gravity" for global opportunities, and said New Delhi would deepen its engagement with the region.

"As we move towards an Asia-Pacific century, India will continue to deepen its engagement with the region as well as contribute to its overall prosperity, stability and security," the Indian Ambassador to the US, Nirupama Rao, said at University of California-Berkeley on Monday.

Washington would host the tri-lateral meet on December 19. "It is well accepted that the Asia-Pacific region on Wednesday is the center of gravity for global opportunities with its continued economic growth.

"While the global economic situation is showing several signs of stress, the emerging market countries in Asia are growing well and have demonstrated their resilience," the Ambassador said.

India, she said, has increasing convergence of interests with the United States.

"The continuance of economic growth and prosperity in both our countries is in many ways linked to the Indo-Pacific region.

"It is necessary in this context that we work together to manage challenges such as those posed by terrorism, or other diverse threats to our peace and security," Rao said according to the transcripts of the speech released on Tuesday.

"We will work together and with other countries of the region, through forums such as East Asia Summit for evolution of an open, balanced and inclusive architecture in the region, so that all stakeholders can make their respective contributions to regional security.

"In multilateral forums such as the East Asia Summit, ASEAN Regional Forum or ADMM + 8 processes, there is now a regular consultation between our two countries and we work together constructively," she said.

In addition to the intensive bilateral consultations, Rao said: "We will soon have a trilateral consultation between India, Japan and the US.

"We witness a greater interest within the countries of this region in strengthening relations with India, recognising the strength of India - in terms of the growing size of our economy, achievements in science and technology and our contributions for the maintenance of peace and security," Rao said.

"Our relations with Japan are marked by a harmony of interests, forged by common democratic values, and a strong and durable strategic and development partnership.

"Our dialogue with Japan is a key component of our policy outreach to the Asia-Pacific," Rao said.