Buenos Aires: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said that the US and Japan are India’s strategic partners, and leaders of both countries are his good friends. The Prime Minister added that “Japan, USA, India acronym is JAI, so Jai in India means success. This sends a good message.” Also Read - Changes Underway in All Sectors to Make This Decade India's: PM Modi During UoM's 100th Convocation

PM Modi was expected to voice India’s firm commitment to make the Indo-Pacific a region for shared economic growth during the first trilateral meeting between him, US President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday. The first of its kind meeting between Modi, Trump and Abe took place on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in the capital of Argentina, amidst China flexing its muscles in the strategic Indo-Pacific region. Also Read - PM Modi Calls For Speedy Testing, Continued Vigilance Against COVID-19 Pandemic

Sources said Modi, Trump and Abe – as the leaders of major democracies, were expected to emphasise the importance of cooperation among the three countries on all major issues of global and multilateral interests such as connectivity, sustainable development, counter-terrorism, maritime and cyber security.

The trilateral took place at a time when China is engaged in hotly contested territorial disputes in the South China Sea, and with Japan in the East China Sea. Both the areas are said to be rich in minerals, oil and other natural resources. China claims almost all of the South China Sea. Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have overlapping claims in the waterway, which includes vital sea lanes through which about USD 3 trillion in global trade passes each year.

The US has been conducting regular patrols in the South China Sea to assert freedom of navigation in the area where Beijing has built up and militarised many of the islands and reefs it controls in the region.

Prime Minister Modi, in his keynote address at the Shangri La Dialogue in Singapore in June expounded India’s stand on the strategic Indo-Pacific region. “India does not see the Indo-Pacific Region as a strategy or as a club of limited members. Nor as a grouping that seeks to dominate. And by no means do we consider it as directed against any country. A geographical definition, as such, cannot be,” he had said.

“India stands for open and stable international trade regime. We will also support rule-based, open, balanced and stable trade environment in the Indo-Pacific region, which lifts up all nations on the tide of trade and investment,” he said while explaining New Delhi’s stand.

Prime Minister was expected to highlight the importance of working jointly in areas such as connectivity, sustainable development, disaster relief, maritime security and unfettered mobility.

(With PTI inputs)