India, the UAE and France have held their first trilateral ministerial meeting in New York on the sidelines of a UN General Assembly session and exchanged ideas on a new and more contemporary way of doing diplomacy with a focus on “active exchange” of ideas between strategic partners and UNSC members.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar arrived in New York on Sunday to participate in the high-level 77th session of the UN General Assembly, which kick-starts September 20 with the opening of the General Debate.

“A productive first trilateral Ministerial meeting of India-UAE-France. Active exchange of ideas between strategic partners and UNSC members,” Mr Jaishankar tweeted after the meeting, hosted by the UAE on Monday, with UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan and French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Catherine Colonna.

Mr Jaishankar began his hectic diplomatic week with a series of bilateral and multilateral engagements on the sidelines of the high-level session.

This was the first ministerial-level meeting of the India, the UAE and France trilateral.

The three countries, while different, are strategic partners to one another and discussions focussed on areas of commonalities and on working out how to specify and concretise these commonalities going forward, official sources said.

They said the three countries are very comfortable with each other and there are many areas where potentially they could be working in a more coordinated way.

Such plurilateral meetings signify a new and more contemporary way of doing diplomacy, they said, citing the example of Quad (Australia, India, Japan, the US), I2U2 (India, Israel, the United Arab Emirates and the United States), trilateral between India, France and Australia as forums emerging as effective ways of finding a common agenda.

They added that typically, groupings were regional and contiguous in nature such as SAARC, BIMSTEC, ASEAN, and the EU with the exception of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).

The official sources added that diplomacy is now changing and there are countries which are not neighbours or next to each other in a region but which have certain common interests and are working with each other.

Following his bilateral meeting with the UAE Foreign Minister, Mr Jaishankar tweeted: “Reviewed the continuing progress of our partnership. Appreciated his assessments and insights on the global situation.” 

Official sources said that for India, things are moving very well on multiple fronts with the UAE, against the backdrop of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the Gulf country in June this year and Mr Jaishankar’s visit two weeks ago for the 14th India-UAE Joint Commission Meeting.

Mr Jaishankar also met with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry.