Open Forum

Other triangles keep drawing greater attention, but the US-Japan-India triangle has become the foundation of what is envisioned as the 21st century security framework involving the United States in the Indo-Pacific. As seen from Japan, this security triangle is acquiring an increasing role in regional strategic thinking as a result of at least three developments: 1) the intensification of the Sino-US rivalry in 2019, as a “trade war” brings in its wake confrontations in several regional arenas; 2) the intensification of US security resources for countering a rising China, while reducing burdens not essential for that strategy, and, in this context, striving to extricate the US from Afghanistan, which is linked to India putting Kashmir directly under federal control; and 3) in these circumstances, searching for ways to strengthen Japan-US-Indian security cooperation. In the cacophony of the G20 summit and its attendant, high-level meetings, one could have overlooked the second of what are seen as annual, triangular summits of the leaders of Japan, the US, and India. Here, I offer a Japanese perspective on this intensifying triangularity, considering first the impact of accelerated Sino-US tensions, then how the Afghanistan situation is affecting Japanese thinking, and finally the increasing set of military linkages with India.

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