Yang said the countries "have the same or similar positions" on matters of key international concern including drug trafficking, organised crime and oil and gas deals.

'Af-Pak policy'

Lavrov told reporters that the three countries were co-ordinating their efforts to help Afghanistan and "counter terrorism and drug trafficking".

"We can not stand aloof and impartial on what's going on in the friendly neighbouring countries and adjacent countries too"

Sergei Lavrov,
Russian foreign minister

"We can not stand aloof and impartial on what's going on in the friendly neighbouring countries and adjacent countries too," he said.

Analysts said that India, China and Russia, were sending a signal that each had a stake in Afghanistan and that the US could not pursue a unilateral path.

"The timing of the statement is significant because the Americans are now reviewing their war and it's a clear signal to the US that it can not go it alone with its so-called Af-Pak policy," Uday Bhaskar, director of the New Delhi-based National Maritime Foundation thinktank, said.

"Russia is saying this can't be a bilateral thing between the US and Pakistan because this concerns the core of other countries in the region and they have to be taken into account."

The three regional powerhouses also pledged a "deepening and strengthening" of co-operation to ensure peace and stability in the region.

Bilateral ties

India's ties with China have been strained by a disagreement over plans for the Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader, to visit an Indian state at the heart of a border dispute between the neighbours.

China regards the Dalai Lama, who has lived in northern India for decades, as a "splittist", dedicated to promoting independence for Tibet.

But Krishna and Yang met separately for 90 minutes after the trilateral talks and described the discussions as "fruitful".

"We discussed how to further develop our relations in light of such meetings at the highest level between the two countries," Krishna said.

"We have agreed on the importance of further developing high level exchanges to enhance trade and economic co-operation and progress in our defence contacts.

"We both see this as part of the progress of building trust and understanding at the political level."

India, China and Russia stretch over 20 per cent of the world's total land mass and include about 40 per cent of the global population, according to a statement released after the meeting.