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Maritime security, regional connectivity brings together India, US, Japan

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

New York:  India, US and Japan, reflecting the growing convergence of their interests in the Indo-Pacific region, have agreed to work together to strengthen regional connectivity and to maintain maritime security through greater collaboration.

The agreement was reached at the inaugural US-India-Japan Trilateral Ministerial dialogue held here Tuesday on the sidelines of the 70th UN General Assembly session.

US Secretary of State John Kerry hosted the dialogue with Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida.

Representing a quarter of the world’s population and economic production power, the three countries highlighted their shared support for peace, democracy, prosperity, and a rules-based international order, according to a joint statement.

The three Ministers highlighted the growing convergence of their respective countries’ interests in the Indo-Pacific region.

“It’s an important moment for us to be able to underscore our interest in the Indo-Pacific region as part of India’s East Asia policy, and also part of Japan’s very active engagement with South and Southeast Asia,” said Kerry.

“For India, the Asia Pacific and the Indian Ocean region is strategic to our security and economic interests,” said Swaraj.

“The sea lanes of communication in the region are the lifeline of India’s trade and commercial externalities,” Swaraj added.

“To realize our mutual objectives, we intend to grow our exchanges into complete trilateral engagement in other areas, including regional connectivity and humanitarian assistance in disaster situation,” she said.

“The Pacific and the Indian Oceans are beginning to link together as oceans of freedom and prosperity, driving the advent of a new era when Indo-Pacific region becomes the epicenter of global prosperity,” said Kishida.

“The trilateral partnership of the US, India, and Japan has an extremely important role to play in pulling this new era forward,” he said.

The joint statement said the three ministers also underscored the importance of international law and peaceful settlement of disputes; freedom of navigation and overflight; and unimpeded lawful commerce, including in the South China Sea, it said.

They reiterated their support for ASEAN centrality in the multilateral political and security architecture in the Asia-Pacific region and emphasized the importance of the East Asia Summit as the premier leader-level forum for addressing key political and security issues of the region.

The three countries agreed to work together to maintain maritime security through greater collaboration, the statement said.

The US and India welcomed Japan’s participation in the 2015 MALABAR exercise.

Recognizing the three countries’ extensive disaster response capabilities and converging interests, the three sides agreed to convene an experts-level group on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to enhance ability to respond jointly to complex disasters.

In an effort to capitalise on collective capacities in promoting regional economic linkages, the three Ministers launched an experts-level group on regional connectivity to identify collaborative efforts that can help strengthen regional connectivity, including between South and Southeast Asia.

The three Ministers expressed interest in exploring trilateral cooperation on women’s skill enhancement and economic empowerment to further social and economic development.

All three Ministers welcomed the inaugural Trilateral Ministerial as a platform for strengthening cooperation and noted their interest in meeting again.

(With inputs from IANS)

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More than 3.3 Million Women in US had Unwanted and Forced First Sexual Intercourse Experience

The #MeToo movement has highlighted how frequently women experience sexual violence

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Women, US, Sexual Intercourse
The study, published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, estimates that one in 16 US women had an unwanted first sexual intercourse experience that was physically forced or coerced. Pixabay

More than 3.3 million women in the US had unwanted and forced first sexual intercourse experience, a new study suggests.

The study, published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, estimates that one in 16 US women had an unwanted first sexual intercourse experience that was physically forced or coerced.

The #MeToo movement has highlighted how frequently women experience sexual violence. However, no recent studies have assessed the prevalence of forced sex during girls’ and women’s first sexual encounter or its health consequences.

In an analysis of nationally representative survey data of 13,310 women, 6.5 per cent of the respondents reported a forced first sexual intercourse encounter, which is equivalent to more than 3.3 million women between the ages of 18 and 44.

Women, US, Sexual Intercourse
More than 3.3 million women in the US had unwanted and forced first sexual intercourse experience, a new study suggests. Pixabay

The average age for women at the time of the forced encounter was 15-and-a-half compared with 17-and-a-half for those reporting a voluntary first sexual intercourse experience, according to researchers from Harvard University in the US.

The average age of the assailant at a first forced sexual intercourse was 27 as compared with the 21 of the partner in a voluntary first sexual experience, the study said.

According to the survey, women with a forced first sexual intercourse experience were more likely to have an unwanted first pregnancy or abortion, as well as other gynaecological and general health problems.

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These findings could help doctors improve the medical care of women and girls and inform the development of public health policies aimed at reducing forced sexual initiation in the US, said the researchers. (IANS)