If the trio had reached some agreement for cooperation, it would have meant the creation of a power center in Asia as an alternative to the United States and would have immediately provoked a negative reaction in Washington. But Moscow, Beijing and New Delhi do not need that kind of trouble.
The situation on Russian, Indian and Chinese external borders changed after the recent social quakes in Uzbekistan. The three states fear that a collapse of Uzbek President Islam Karimov's regime would give way to extremists who dream of creating an Islamic caliphate in Central Asia and that a violent revolution is spreading to the other CIS Asian republics. India and China know they cannot remain indifferent to this.
Many experts say the time has come to coordinate anti-terrorist efforts. India and China may find it difficult to interact directly because of an old territorial dispute, but they can use the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, SCO, of Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The accession of India to the SCO has been on the agenda for several years.
If the trio (within the SCO or outside it) acquired visible outlines, they should think about attracting one more regional player. Pakistan is a U.S. ally and the American reaction to the possible creation of a coalition is likely to soften if Pakistan is involved. Pakistan is also battling al-Qaeda and is likely to support an anti-terrorist grouping.
If the four countries, or at least the three, were to form an alliance, they would have a better chance at playing a stabilizing role in Asia.