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Authors: Kothari, Raj Kumar
Keywords: Central Asia
Political Relation
Foreign Policy
Strategic Engagement
Post - Soviet - Development
Economic Relation
Energy Security
Issue Date: Apr-2018
Publisher: Raj Kumar Kothari
Series/Report no.: ;F. 5-325/2014 (HRP)
Abstract: Relations between India and Central Asia are ancient and civilisational. The Silk Route connected India with Central Asia not only for transportation of goods and wares like silk, textiles, spices etc. but was an effective channel of exchange of thoughts, ideas, religion and philosophy. Buddhism travelled over this route from India to Central Asia. During the Soviet era, India’s relations with the five Central Asian republics were routed through Moscow and hence very limited exchange took place. However, the 21st century has brought a new aroma in India-Central Asia relationship despite the fact that bilateral and multilateral engagements between both the two are far from satisfactory. In this backdrop, the study aims to focus on such recent developments in India-Central Asia relations which includes mainly India’s ‘Connect Central Asia Policy’, launched in 2012. The present study focuses on the post-Soviet developments of five Central Asian countries which has opened up new door of opportunities before India in the twenty-first century. The basic objectives of the study are: (a) To study the course of developments in Central Asia after the disintegration of the Soviet Union; (b)To study the geo-strategic importance of Central Asia for India in the post-Soviet years; (c) To study the evolution of India’s foreign policy perceptions towards Central Asia; (d) To study the role of external players - Russia, China and the USA - in Central Asia; (e) To study the role of the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization), that affects India-Central Asia relations; and (f)To identify the challenges and opportunities that exist in the sphere of India-Central Asia relations. Research Findings: Strengthening of relations between India and Central Asia is to mutual benefit of all countries involved. It is not directed at countering China’s presence in the region. India is interested in expanding its ties with the region as it will promote security, stability, economic growth and development of all countries. Similarly, from the Central Asian perspective, good relations with India will provide an assured market to these countries for their energy, raw materials, oil and gas, uranium, minerals, hydro-electric power etc. India is the fastest growing economy in the world today and can be a stable, assured, expanding market for these countries. On the whole, stronger relations between them will contribute to increased security and prosperity of these countries and the world. However, the key constraint India faces is the lack of direct access to Central Asia. The unstable situation in Afghanistan and a highly problematic India-Pakistan relations have deprived New Delhi from the benefit of relations with Central Asia. Despite severe constraints, in recent years, India has registered significant progress by way of signing a trilateral agreement for renovation of Chabahar port. The post is now ready for use. This apart, India’s membership of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) as also of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) should go a considerable way in bridging this gap.
Appears in Collections:Reports of Major/Minor Research Project (UGC)

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