Central Asia

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  • Penpa Dhundup asked: Is there any cooperation between India and China in Central Asia?

    Raviprasad Narayanan replies: India's efforts at creating a positional advantage in Central Asia is fraught with difficulties since the region is land locked and only Iran can play a role in facilitating access to the region for India. Central Asian countries are looking for a way out of the dreadlocks of Russia and Chabahar Port comes into the equation. Sanctions imposed on Iran by the United State have not so far impacted Chabahar Port, considered crucial for India’s access to Afghanistan bypassing Pakistan.

    Analysing the Impacts of Drug Trafficking on Human Security in Central Asia

    The international security environment has undergone many changes since the end of the Cold War. There has been a need to adapt the concept of security with the changing conditions and new security situations emerging in different geopolitical locales of the world. The concept of human security gained currency in the wake of international developments in the 1990s following the end of the Cold War. New security threats were identified by scholars and analysts the world over. There was a shift in the way security was conceptualised, i.e.

    January 2018

    To make Chabahar a ‘Game Changer’ Central Asian states need to be roped in

    India needs to rope in one or more of the Central Asian countries, preferably Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, in the Chabahar project, to fully exploit its potential.

    December 12, 2017

    India Gears Up to Enter the Eurasian Integration Path

    As India enters the Eurasian integration path, it needs to be aware that there is an emerging trend in favour of intra-regional cooperation in Central Asia.

    June 07, 2017

    Democratization Process in Kazakhstan Unfolds

    Despite the opacity of Central Asian politics, the course of political change in the region is likely to be smooth, which is also essential for peace and stability within and outside Central Asia.

    April 03, 2017

    International North-South Transport Corridor: Re-energising India’s Gateway to Eurasia

    International North-South Transport Corridor: Re-energising India’s Gateway to Eurasia

    There is a conscious effort on the part of India to re-energise the INSTC. However, sustaining the momentum achieved remains a major challenge before the member countries of the North-South connectivity project.

    August 18, 2015

    Modi’s Visit to Central Asia

    Modi’s Visit to Central Asia

    To reconnect with the Eurasian market, India needs to explore the option of a direct land-link through China, i.e., reviving the traditional Ladakh-Xinjiang axis as the natural gateway to Eurasia.

    July 06, 2015

    The Modi factor in Central Asia

    The Modi factor in Central Asia

    Modi’s activism is welcomed in Central Asian countries, though they know that India has already missed the bus and it has a lot of catching up to do.

    June 24, 2015

    India and Mongolia: Modi on Ashoka’s Path

    India and Mongolia: Modi on Ashoka’s Path

    Nehru fought for Mongolia’s status at the United Nation. Today, Modi’s India has greater economic strength to nurture the relationship with Mongolia.

    May 13, 2015

    Manoj Kumar: What have been the achievements of India's ‘Connect Central Asia’ policy so far, and what are its future prospects?

    Meena Singh Roy replies: India’s ‘Connect Central Asia’ policy is an attempt to augment India’s renewed linkages with the entire Eurasian region. Its various facets include enhancing India’s engagement in economic, political and strategic fields, in education, connectivity and in the areas of culture and people-to-people contact. Since the policy was announced just two years ago in 2012, it is too early to expect much in such a short time. However, there are some initiatives which are in the pipeline and some achievements as well. As part of policy implementation, following developments may be noted:

    1. There have been many high level visits from both sides to enhance the political engagement.
    2. For increasing the connectivity, there has been some forward movement in the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) project. In addition, India is also committed to investing in the development of Chabahar Port in Iran to enhance its connectivity through Iran and Afghanistan to the Central Asian Republics (CARs).
    3. India plans to set up a Central Asian University in Kyrgyzstan as well as medical centres in the region.
    4. In the energy sector, there has been a forward movement on TAPI which is expected to be operational by 2015 according to official sources. India’s ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL) has got 25 per cent stakes in the Satpayev Block in the Caspian Sea and is also cooperating in getting uranium from the region.
    5. Under its development partnership programme, India has embarked on contributing towards capacity building and human resource development in the Central Asian countries to bolster its engagement with the region. Today, IT centres of excellence are operational in Tashkent, Ashgabat, Dushanbe and Bishkek, with one in the pipeline in Astana.
    6. India has gifted a Fruit Processing Plant in Dushanbe in Tajikistan and a Potato Processing Plant in Talas in Kyrgyzstan. Some other significant projects in Central Asia are computerisation of post offices in Uzbekistan, an Entrepreneurship Development Centre in Tashkent and a Tool Room in Dushanbe. Under its ITEC programme, India has allocated 645 slots to Eurasia in 2012–13, out of which 435 were allocated to the CARs. This is among the most successful programmes and is deeply appreciated by the CARs.
    7. During the visit of President Emomali Rahmon to India from September 1-4, 2012, India, as part of its ongoing developmental partnership with Tajikistan, announced new development projects including an IT Centre of excellence; an e-network, including tele-education and tele-medicine; medical centres; language laboratories; an Entrepreneurship Development Institute; supply of agricultural machinery; and, implementation of a package on small development projects.
    8. In addition to the above initiatives, India is working on a number of flagship projects. It is working on setting up an e-network to connect all five CARs with the aim of delivering tele-education and tele-medicine. As part of its effort to further increase the connectivity, the Indian Ministry of Civil Aviation has since July 20, 2012 sanctioned fourteen flights per week for each of the CARs.

    The future prospects for this policy are immense. However, the biggest challenge is to ensure proper implementation of suggested projects and proposals. Most of the proposals are still in the pipeline and many of them will demand consistent follow up at the highest political level. The effective implementation of various proposals presupposes equal attention and cooperation from India’s Central Asian partners as well to make the ‘Connect Central Asia’ policy a success. At this point in time, it is too early to expect quick results from the policy.

    For further on the topic, please refer to my following publication:

    Meena Singh Roy, “India’s ‘Connect Central Asia’ Policy: Building Cooperative Partnership,” Indian Foreign Affairs Journal, 8 (3), July–September 2013, pp. 301-316.

    Posted on May 15, 2014