[Diplomacy] Connect Central Asia Policy: Meaning, Features, Significance for IndiaDevendra Vishwakarma
- What is Central Asia?
- Why is Central Asia important for India?
- India’s problem in Central Asia?
- What has China done in Central Asia?
- What is Connect Central Asia Policy?
- Meet and Greet
- Fire and kill
- Trade and Prosper
- Teach and Heal
- Fly and Film
What is Central Asia?
- Collectively they’re known as Central Asian Republics (CAR)
- also known as the underbelly of Eurasia
Why is Central Asia important for India?
- rich resource of hydrocarbons and minerals.
- lies on the old silk route – connecting China and South Asia to West Asia and Europe.
- So we can setup factories in CAR, we can directly launch our products in EU (decreasing the transportation cost).
India’s problem in Central Asia?
- Central Asia has huge reserves of hydrocarbon and Minerals.
- But we are unable to get them because of Transportation problems
- through Afghanistan : problem – region is unstable due to Talibans.
- through Iran: problem- it’ll annoy Americans. (recall the Chabahar port article)
- The Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) and Iran-Pakistan-India(IPI) pipelines projects are not moving smoothly due to Pakistan and Afghanistan.
- There are three key locations from which we can access the Central Asia
- Chahabar and Bandar Abbas ports in Iran
- Hajigak/Bamiyan in Afghanistan
- Bandar Anzali on the Caspian Sea.
What has China done in Central Asia?
- China has already built roads, railways and pipelines across this resource-rich region.
- Oil pipelines from the Caspian Sea across Kazakhstan
- gas pipeline from Turkmenistan via Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan,
- deep-sea port of Gwadar in Pakistan
- China is exploiting the Siberian timber, Mongolian iron ore, Kazakh oil, Turkmen natural gas and Afghan copper through this transportation network.
What is Connect Central Asia Policy?
- India has launched this “Connect Central Asia Policy” to
- Tap the natural resources (oil,gas,iron-ore etc) of Central Asia.
- Counter the hegemony (domination) of China in this region.
- This policy was formally declared at Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan) by our Minister of State (External Affairs) in June 2012.
- Under this policy, we’ll do following things
Meet and Greet
- We’ll build strong political relations with these nations via the exchange of high level visits. Example
- Their Presidents/ PMs coming to India and Mohan doing the reverse.
- Inviting their Presidents as chief guests on our 26th Jan. parades.)
- Indian PRime minister will continue to interact with Central Asian leaders, closely both in bilateral and multilateral fora. i.e SCO, Eurasian Economic Community (EEC), Custom Union, UN etc.
Fire and kill
- We’ll strengthen our strategic and security cooperation with this countries.
- Military training, joint research, counter-terrorism coordination and close consultations on Afghanistan.
Trade and Prosper
- Proposed a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement
- 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.
- Right now, due to absence of a viable banking infrastructure in the Central Asian region, we are unable to do much trade and investment. So, Indian banks will be setting up branches here.
- International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC)
- It is a joint venture between Iran, India, Russia and Azerbaijan
- It will connect India to Central Asia through Iran via rail, road and ship network.
Teach and Heal
- We’ll help set up a Central Asian University in Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan) to impart world class education in areas like IT, management, philosophy and languages.
- We’ll set 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.
- We’ll be setting up civil hospitals/clinics in Central Asia.