New configurations in Asian geopolitics are emerging thick and fast. The month of June saw the initiative of a new trilateral group involving India, Japan and Australia when the Indian foreign secretary met his Australian counterpart and a Japanese vice foreign minister. Japan will also take part in bilateral the annual India-U.S. Malabar exercise slated to be held over the next few months. Though Japan has participated in this exercise before, this will be only the second time for the Self-Defense Forces to take part when it is being conducted in the strategically critical Indian Ocean.

There is a growing convergence in the region that the strategic framework of the Indo-Pacific region is the best way forward to manage the rapidly shifting contours of Asia. Proposed first by Japan and adopted with enthusiasm by Australia under the Tony Abbott government, in particular, the framework has gained considerable currency with the United States now increasingly articulating the need for it.

Though Beijing views it with suspicion, many in China are acknowledging that the Indo-Pacific has emerged as a critical regional space for India, and China needs to synchronize its policies across the Indian Ocean and Pacific regions. These developments underscore the changing regional configuration in the Indo-Pacific on account of China's aggressive foreign policy posture as well as a new seriousness in India's own China policy. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's outreach to Japan and Australia has been a significant part of his government's foreign policy as strong security ties with Tokyo and Canberra are now viewed as vital by Delhi.