India-Japan-Philippines: A Strategic Maritime Trilateral or More?

Focus Asia March, 2024

Regional states like India, Japan, and the Philippines have been seeking cooperative solutions with other middle powers that can both counter the Chinese influence and fulfill other economic as well as traditional and non-traditional security objectives. Against this scenario of evolving geopolitics, is there merit in an India-Japan-Philippines trilateral? Can it play a strategic role in the Indo-Pacific maritime domain and keep China in check? Can such grouping enhance the scope of “third country” partnerships and boost the multilateralism espoused by ASEAN?

This Focus Asia paper aims to address such questions by exploring the interconnectedness between the Philippines, India, and Japan through both the bilateral and regional lens, looking at the trajectory of the recent high-level interactions. It also explores the specific avenues of strategic cooperation, including connectivity, green transition, and supply chains, which have great potential for a trilateral synergy. It discusses how far these states are in alignment on the Taiwan question at the current moment. Finally, the paper examines the building of the India-Japan-Philippines trilateral from the maritime security perspective.


Related Publications