Central Asia : The Bucket of Opportunities
30 July 2022
"Bharat's ties with these countries have been in terms of trade, energy, multilateral cooperation and....."
Prior to the split of the Soviet Union in 1991, Central Asia was the part of the biggest country in the world. Central Asia was 5/16th Parts of the Soviet Union, but as the disturbances and turmoil increased, the split of Soviet Union finally happened in 1991, which resulted in the addition of 16 new countries to the world’s economy. Out of these 16 Independent Nations, 5 of them namely Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan formed the central Asia. They are also known as the Heartland of the Asian continent. They were named in the background of the major ethnic groups living in the region known as Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Tajik, Turkmen, and Uzbek. They are normally denoted as “Stans”, by the western world which is basically hindering their identity as an individual country, as they are much different from each other in terms of ethnicity, language, culture etc.
Strategically and diplomatically these countries are very important in terms of natural resources and energy security. They were historically closely attached to the Silk Road trade routes, which acted as crossroads for the movement of people, goods and ideas across Europe and the Far East, until they became colonies to Russian empire and later the Soviet Union in the mid of 19th century. Consolidating the five countries, their population is close to 72 Million people. Russia sees them as its own turf, The U.S. is trying to engage with them for trades, China is keeping a close eye on them and has invested worth a 100 Billion Dollars for the infrastructure and now Bharat has invited all the five leaders as the chief guests for the 73rd Republic Day. Looking at the history these nations are only 30 years old, yet they are stable and are very rich in strategic materials like oil, gas and uranium. They are the turfs for which regional and global powers are competing with each other Diplomatically, Economically and Militarily.
Bharat's ties with these countries have been in terms of trade, energy, multilateral cooperation and national security. These ties were reinforced after our Honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi became the 1st person in 2015 to visit all five central Asian countries. A lot of light has been shed in the field of defence between the two countries since then. Strategically, good ties with these countries means a superior hand over Pakistan, specifically after the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan has taken place. Delhi’s race strategically is with Beijing mainly, as the Asian Superpower is playing its best to capitalize on the resources of these five countries by investing billions.
Delhi has to think and strategize a lot on their partnerships with these countries, as to which aspects and dimensions are yet to be added for their National Interests. The major help that India is having is of the secularism that is followed in these five countries despite majority of the tribe are Muslims and also they don’t judge on the basis of caste and creed. So, having this dimension in picture will help Delhi a lot.
1) Gravitas Plus: Central Asia: New Global Turf War
2) Wikipedia: Central Asia.