India, as chair of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, hosted the foreign ministers’ meet in Goa last week. What would have been an important and expanding regional grouping has been complicated by the Russia-Ukraine crisis, the increased influence of China and an obstructionist Pakistan. Still, India has played its role with an eye on the long term.
India is rapidly increasing its economic engagement with Russia, and other former Soviet countries. This means it must look at old friends in Central Asia with new eyes. Uzbekistan is one of them. India is one of a quartet of geopolitical powers playing to the strategic interests of this nation which sits at the crossroads of South, East, West and Central Asia and Russia.
Courtesy: Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation
An estimated 9 million Central Asians reside and work in Russia, and almost every major city in the country is dependent on their labour. It’s a marriage of convenience but beneficial all around. Russia gets modernised infrastructure, while remittances bring in much-needed capital to Central Asia.
On November 26, the first flight took off from Kushinagar Airport in Uttar Pradesh, set up to help Buddhist pilgrims reach the Mahaparinirvana Temple, where Lord Buddha attained nirvana. Promoting India's Buddhist legacy can lead New Delhi's effort to revive diplomacy between the SCO's eight member nations.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to Central Asia is an important moment for Indian business to increase its presence in the region. Before doing so, it must consider the region’s geopolitical and security challenges—but once past these hurdles, the region has many investment opportunities
The map – Asia’s Strategic Corridors to India – has emerged from Gateway House’s study of India’s strategic links with other parts of Asia. It highlights the progress India has made in forging multiple links with six strategic regions – Central Asia, West Asia, East Africa, South-East Asia, East Asia, and our immediate neighbourhood
Though some countries like Russia gained a strong foothold in Central Asia and the Caucasus post-1991, India has been a late-comer. Gateway House interviews former Ambassador to Azerbaijan Debnath Shaw to discuss India’s energy interests in the region, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the TAPI pipeline.
India will do well to expand its positive and trust-laden cooperation with Russia in commerce, technology, and education, into a broader regional one, and establish a more meaningful presence in Central Asia. This will also assist in the future acquisition of energy resources in the region.