India- Central Asia relationship
India- Central Asia relationship
Question- Write a note on India Central Asia relationship.
Central Asia consists of the five republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan,Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
- They are also known as Central Asian Republic (CARs).Also called as underbelly of Eurasia.
- CARs are landlocked countries that forms gateway to Europe.
- Before 1991, they were part of USSR so economic system was centralized and closely linked to the mainland Russia. Now they are going through liberalization and privatization process.
- Migration of skilled engineers and technicians back to Russia after 1991 is causing shortage of employees.
- All counties have a strong presidency, with a weak legislature and judiciary that dominates the political systems. Also absence of press and opposition political party can be seen
- Revival of Islam is major problem in front of these nations.
- Historically, they have been the entry point for people and cultures
that have deeply influenced our civilization
- India shared a strong cultural ties with these countries with one theory proposing advent of Aryan through that region to spread of Buddhism to influence of Sufism on Islam.
- They were on map of a Ancient silk route.
Importance of CAR's from India's point of view
1. Rich in Oil and gas deposits
2. Major producer and exporter of agricultural products like cotton, wool, meat, animal skins and leather goods.
3. It also has considerable deposits of minerals such as uranium, gold, silver, iron ore, coal, copper, zinc, lead and manganese among others.
4. It can help India to develop the International North–South Transport Corridor which is the ship, rail, and road route for moving freight from India to Europe through Central Asia and Russia.
5. It will provide transit route to Russia and Afghanistan after development of a chabahar port.
Relations with CARs
1. Tajikistan (Dushanbe) – It Borders with Afghanistan. India's only foreign military base is in Farkhor near Ayni. Also it has huge potentials of hydroelectricity development.
2. Kazakhstan (Astana) – It will provide access to north Caspian sea. India's investment in Satpayev oil field. Agreement on nuclear energy co-operation. pharmaceutical factory of the Kazakh-India joint venture Kazakhstanpharma.
India is building a software technology park in Kazakhstan.
3. Turkmenistan (Ashgabat)- Gas provider in TAPI project. India has particular interest in Turkmenistan's hydrocarbon reserves. Another close co-operation area is pharmaceuticals.
4. Uzbekistan (Tashkent) – Historical relationship which traces back to Mughal period as Babur came from Uzbekistan. After development of chabhanar port India will connect to Termez in Uzbekistan from Herat in Afghanistan. India has jointly developed Karakar reserves. Also Joint military exercises were held between two countries.
5. Kyrgyzstan (Bishkek)– It has proximity to Xinjing province of China. Mining, Agriculture, IT, hydroelectric power and pharmaceuticals are areas of co-operation. DRDO has established Mountain Biomedical research center in Kyrgyzstan.
Problems in establishing relationship with CARs.
1. Absence of direct rail, road or sea link has been the most important obstacle in India’s relations with Central Asia.
2. Non-availability of hard currency and the lack of conversion facility services.
Indirect connectivity through Afghan risks threat posed by terrorist while transit through Iran is opposed by US as it wants isolation of Iran.
3. Growing Chinese influence is giving competition to India's interest in that region. China is heavily pouring money for infrastructure development and securing its energy interest.
4. Lack of institutional forum for engagement with these countries. To tackle this problem India has applied for SCO membership.
India’s ‘Connect Central Asia’ Policy
1. Strong political relations through the exchange of high level visits.
2. Strengthen its strategic and security cooperation. India already has strategic partnerships in place with some Central Asian countries. India will engage in military training, joint research, counter-terrorism coordination and close consultations on Afghanistan.
3. Multi-lateral engagement through existing organization like SCO, EEC and custom Union. Proposed Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement.
4. Partner in energy, and natural resources. Central Asia possesses large cultivable tracts of land and it sees potential for India to cooperate in production of profitable crops with value addition.
5. Medical field co-operation through setting up civil hospitals/clinics in Central Asia.
6. Setting up of a Central Asian University in Bishkek that could come up as a center of excellence to impart world class education in areas like Information Technology, management, philosophy and languages.
7. Setting up a Central Asian e-network with its hub in India, to deliver, tele-education and tele-medicine connectivity, linking all the five Central Asian States.
8. Central Asian countries, especially Kazakhstan, have almost limitless reserves of iron ore and coal, as well as abundant cheap electricity. India can help set up several medium size steel rolling mills, producing its requirement of specific products.
9. Development of a international North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC)
10. Co-operation in construction sector
11. Developing a banking infrastructure
12. Air Connectivity
13. Promoting strong cultural ties