The Russia-Ukraine conflict has led to the resurgence of interest in Central Asian as an alternate trade corridor between Europe and Asia. Timely investment in connectivity projects like the Middle Corridor and the INSTC by regional stakeholders, as well as by the EU, China and India, must now build on this interest to create new regional, international, and cross-continental transport corridors.
Vinod Kumar is a former Ambassador of India to Uzbekistan and Permanent Representative of India to SCO-RATS.
The upcoming SCO Summit led by Uzbekistan seeks to ignite a ‘Samarkand Spirit’ where nations are indivisible and not fragmented, and connected by trade and investment. This is a welcome positive note in the backdrop of the Ukraine-Russia conflict, where Central Asia is now being impacted by diminishing essential commodities, depreciation of local currencies, and reduced remittances from its migrant workers in Russia.
India hosted a summit with five Central Asian states on January 27, marking 30 years of diplomatic relations with the region, and an important step forward to pursue greater connectivity between India and Central Asia. New Delhi's engagement holds promise for ambitious bilateral agendas including security in Afghanistan, the revival of dormant projects, and potential collaboration in renewable energy, space and information technology.