The first trilateral dialogue held by the United States, Japan and India was not aimed at containing China, a US official said as the three countries pledged to deepen ties.
The meeting, an assistant-secretary level assembly co-chaired by US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Robert Blake and Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell, was held in Washington on Monday, bringing the three countries together for the first time to discuss "a wide range" of regional and global issues of mutual interest, according to a news release from the Indian embassy.
"These discussions mark the beginning of a series of consultations among our three governments, who share common values and interests across the Asia-Pacific and the globe," the US State Department said in statement posted on its website.
The three countries discussed several issues, including "larger and strategic development in Asia", related to the economy and military, Campbell said.
He also dismissed the prevailing assumption that the meeting was aimed at containing China.
An article published on Tuesday on the Wall Street Journal's website said the US, Japan and India were conferring on security concerns in response to rising aggression from Beijing, though China's rise was not featured at the meeting.
"Security of sea lanes of communication, coordination of humanitarian assistance and global terrorism were the focus. But China was the unspoken subtext," it said.
"It's natural if they (the US, Japan and India) are worried about China, and such worries are respects for China's development," said Shen Dingli, a professor at the Institute of International Studies affiliated to Shanghai-based Fudan University.
China is not going to hurt regional stability, and China needs to explain its intention to prevent misunderstandings through cooperation, Shen said.
"We welcome those three countries to meet us here in China to discuss our cooperation to further guard regional peace," he added.
Tokyo proposed a similar trilateral meeting with the US and China on Monday when visiting Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba met US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who said at a news conference that Washington supported the idea, according to the Indian newspaper Hindustan Times.
Gemba, during his three-day visit to the US, said the Japan-US-India trilateral dialogue was "a specific example of collaboration".
The three agreed to meet again in Tokyo in 2012 to continue their deliberations.