Prime Minister Narendra Modi seemed aware about the nuances Pthat underpin India's cultural and political obligations in Asia. By making Bhutan as his first visit abroad followed by a visit to Nepal, he has effectively invoked the deeper imperatives to revitalize India's national interests.
Prime Minister Modi has to think beyond the immediate circle and leverage the Himalayas as a bridge for India reaching out to wider Eurasian space the access to which has blocked by Pakistan. A way out could be to promote a regional market across the border, woven by a web of spiritual and commercial interests.
Russia seems both happy as well as worried about US withdrawal from Afghanistan. Concerns about Central Asian security apart, now with the sectarian strife in West Asia flaring up, the Russian anxieties would heighten about possible spread of ISIS type assertion along its southern belt.
There is a growing sense that Putin, after what he did to Crimea, has prepared a fine blueprint for similar intervention in Central Asian states should it become a necessary case for protecting Russian interests in these countries.
In a three part series the author analyses Russia's strategic play. In this first part, the recently held military "snap inspection" drill by Russia involving 65,000 troops is examined and significantly the intent and purpose behind it.
The author recounts his memories of the US military base at Manas International Airport in Bishkek, which was the hub for onward movement of about 15,000 troops and 500 tons of cargo a month to and from Afghanistan. The folding of the US base has not only put an end to the US-Central Asia saga but in effect the US overseas military presence is now retracted to the line of its power limits in Europe.
The prospects for new states becoming SCO members seem remote. The new clause that requires all heads of the member states to sign the membership document is the main obstacle and the members appear careful about the intentions and behaviors of the observers-states as they see expansion could against the organizational interests.