New Delhi’s geopolitical and logistical outreach to Central Asia

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India’s international profile has grown in recent years and is acknowledged as a leading power in Asia, and the Indian Ocean Region. …reports Asian Lite News

In the changing global order marked by varying national interests and violent conflicts, the significance of geopolitics has not diminished.

In fact, one of the root causes for the ongoing Russian military intervention in Ukraine is the latter’s geopolitical location. Russia perceives certain Ukrainian activities to be threatening, and that its security interests are at stake.

However, one of the tools nations adopt to promote their strategic interests by peaceful means, is connectivity. Connectivity issues are currently at the centre stage of international relations as nations are vying with each other to link up either by land, air, or sea.

India’s international profile has grown in recent years and is acknowledged as a leading power in Asia, and the Indian Ocean Region. Today, the thrust of India’s policy is primarily to connect with its strategic Central Asian neighbourhood.

In September 2022, India will take over the Chair as head of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), which necessitates the imperative need to connect with the SCO space.

Indian engagement will have to be robust, especially since the Central Asian States are landlocked. This highlights the critical importance of connectivity for India. The best option to reach out to Central Asia is via the Iranian port of Chabahar, through to Turkmenistan, and thence to Uzbekistan. The Afghanistan transit route is not desirable for present, or the foreseeable future.

However, it needs to be noted that, for India, the regional security scenario is complicated. On one hand, Russian military intervention has, and will cast a shadow on Central Asia. On the other hand, the uncertainty in Afghanistan and the rise of non-traditional threats pose a security challenge to Central Asia as well as India. This would require diplomatic skill to steer through the complex regional scenario.

In order to discuss these crucial issues in all its ramifications, the India Central Asia Foundation ( ICAF ) is organising a two-day international seminar on “India’s Geopolitical and Logistical outreach to Central Asia” on April 21- 22 at India International Centre (Annexe). Domain experts from India, along-with Central Asia, are expected to present their respective perspectives. Their views will, undoubtedly, add to our understanding of the region.

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