Central Asia - News & Discussions

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Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby gunjur » 19 Sep 2012 18:10

As central asia was heart of former(and maybe newer) silk routes and also a region having civilisational ties with bharat and even today has a lot of strategic/economic significance. Hence this thread where news/views on central asia can be discussed.

Mods: If there is already a thread, please merge(lock) this thread. Or if you feel news/views on central asia can/should be discussed in any other thread please close this thread.

There are lot of gurus in BRF who have lot of knowledge on central asia – it’s past, current etc. Please share them.

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Some basic info on central asia and it's relevance for india.
Central asia – territory
Central asia in Ancient Indian literature
India’s 'Connect Central Asia' policy
India's Interests in Central Asia


Proposed Central asian Silk route(sponsered by ADB's Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) program)

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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby gunjur » 20 Sep 2012 00:06

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Salafists challenge Kazakh future
In the last three months of 2011, three Jund al-Khilafah (Army of the Caliphate) cells carried out the first terrorist attacks in Kazakhstan's history, targeting government buildings. One of Jund al-Khilafah's founders became a Salafist militant when he was arbitrarily denied permission by Kazakh authorities to study Islam in Saudi Arabia. He then fled to the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region,(Behind every wahabbi, there is always a paki connection) where they established Jund al-Khilafah while maintaining networks with Salafists in Kazakhstan

To Kazakhstan's south, the Salafist-influenced group Hizb ut-Tahrir (HuT) founded by diaspora Palestinians believes it is obligatory for every Muslim to work toward the reestablishment of the Islamic Caliphate; that no other system of law but Sharia is permissible; and that it is haram (forbidden) for Muslim states to seek protection from America or other kufr (non-Islamic) states

Further abroad, the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the emergence of Salafist political parties in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia provide newfound legitimacy for political Islam - a challenge to the secular Kazakhstan. Salafists in the Middle East have shown strong opposition to the Kazakhstan government, who issued a fatwa saying that it is legal for Muslims to attack police in Kazkahstan and that there is an obligation for the Muslims of Kazakhstan to not be patient, but rather to engage in jihad.

Some strategies to counter the Salafist ideology include:
* Efforts to shut down religious facilities where Salafists have been reported preaching, including the Saudi Arabian cultural center in Almaty (Hopefully our govt can emulate such actions)
* Placing theologians and psychologists on the military draft boards to check for signs that indicate whether new recruits have been influenced by Salafism.
* Monitoring more than 10,000 websites for extremist content and blocking access to more than 100 such websites.

Nonetheless, with Salafism's success in winning recruits on Kazakhstan's periphery, it will be difficult for Kazakhstan to succeed in containing the ideology without the successful efforts of neighboring states. Finally, there is also the issue of Central Asians fighting in Afghanistan who may eventually return home and bring with them not only the ideology of the Taliban and al-Qaeda, but also fighting expertise

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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby Austin » 20 Sep 2012 17:34


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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby brihaspati » 21 Sep 2012 20:40

Someone with connections to the zone has drawn my attention to Kazakhstan. The angle is however not Islamism salafism. The angle is about Chinese presence and settlement agreements within Kazakhstan. China is heavily militarizing the common border with Kazakhs.

Combined with indications in other zones, this person's suggestion has been to game any future Chinese war plans for CAR/K front, in which Russia need not be an ally.

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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby devesh » 21 Sep 2012 21:51

Russia need not be an ally of China? or India?

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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby brihaspati » 21 Sep 2012 23:19

Of China.

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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby nakul » 21 Sep 2012 23:22

The CSTO (if in force) requires one member country to come to the aid of the other. So if Russia does not abide by its own rules, it will have to pay a price in terms of the trust of other nations CSTO. Is China willing to goad Russia?

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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby devesh » 21 Sep 2012 23:34

so essentially PRC is planning to expand in a way which will eventually make even the Russians nam-ke-vaste in CAR. for India it means, along with the update you posted on Nepal also being closed off, basically that India's Northern rim is pretty much surrounded and all access points India has to outside from the North are being cut off. to top it all off, Islamics are consolidating internally.

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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby nakul » 21 Sep 2012 23:36

Add to that Sri Lanka hosting ISI (listening post) in its north & china (refueling for navy & SIGINT) in the south makes India completely surrounded.

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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby brihaspati » 21 Sep 2012 23:56

The Nepal border aspect must be known by our super intel. I have reasons to rely on the info. The fact that they have not intervened implies congrez thinking on Tibet has not changed from 1958. But that problematizes intel gathering.

Acces to Tibet is not important onlee for potential attacks from Tibet. There are below the radar traditional routes of information and small-objects flow that run all the way through Mongolia into south-eastern Russia. This means for intel purposes - the entire route cuts across the very regions China is now militarizing.

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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby brihaspati » 22 Sep 2012 00:07

There is an overwhelming extra buildup in the military hardware of China. Its propaganda about PLAN appears to me to be a cover for hiding its land preparations. The main expansion opportunities for China lie to the west and south - not exactly across India to the south west. But what it is trying to do is to outflank the potentially huge armed camp in its rear that India can become if it overstretches to the west. Kazakhstan and China share a border. Most long-term lebensraum war-plans have typically required 10-15 years of attack capacity buildup on an average over the last century.

This should not run with B.Raman garu's obsession with China minus Pak. Pak is an integral part of China's potential military aggressions plans. Any CAR moves by any of Russia or China firmly takes into account the reality and utility of AFPak.

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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby gunjur » 22 Sep 2012 11:55

Mongolia: can’t live with China, can’t live without China

More than the CAR's, it's mongolia which China will overrun first. Mongolia is a HUGE piece of land, literally uninhabited (Mongolia is nearly half the size of india in terms of area but population of around only 30 lakhs) and contains lots and lots of natural resources. Once mongolia is done, they can use mongolia as lynchpin to siberia. Most probably sino power projection in CAR's would be more of economical than military at least in near future. But yes, they would be cautious tough on any wahabbi/islamic spillover into xinjiang. JMT.

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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby svinayak » 22 Sep 2012 20:37

brihaspati wrote:Someone with connections to the zone has drawn my attention to Kazakhstan. The angle is however not Islamism salafism. The angle is about Chinese presence and settlement agreements within Kazakhstan. China is heavily militarizing the common border with Kazakhs.

Combined with indications in other zones, this person's suggestion has been to game any future Chinese war plans for CAR/K front, in which Russia need not be an ally.

My friend has visited Kazakhstan and he had built a distriution network in the last 15 years. The Chinese have been trading since 1991 in the border. RUssians are manning the border and underground bunkers and hangers store Russian planes and def equipments

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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby gunjur » 26 Sep 2012 21:40

Is Central Asia on the Verge of a Water War?
A new kind of conflict is rising in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan that could eventually lead to the first water war of the 21st century.
Tajiks, plan to build the Rogun dam on the Vakhsh River. While the hydroelectric power from the proposed dam would make the Tajiks rich, it’ll make the Uzbeks thirsty.

Uzbek President Islam Karimov like any delusional dictator, known for his outlandish behavior: like rewriting history books to make himself the spiritual descendant of the warlord Tamerlane, owning a soccer team in the national league (who are conveniently champions nearly every year).

Islam Karimov did up the ante [recently] by suggesting that attempts by Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan to build giant hydropower dams upstream could lead to war.” Tensions have been escalating for years as the Uzbeks pressure the Tajiks by pulling classically dirty diplomatic moves the Russians are known for, like cutting off vital gas deliveries, mining their shared borders, and possibly resorting to covert attacks. “Late last year," Trilling said, "all rail traffic to southern Tajikistan stopped when a rail bridge in a remote part of Uzbekistan mysteriously blew up. Tashkent blamed terrorists, as it is wont to do, but a visitor to the site described signs of deliberate sabotage.”

Whether foreign interests are already stirring the pot is the real question. US Special Forces recently trained Kyrgyz soldiers. “They’ve also been training border guards and set up a counterterrorism training center in Tajikistan. But this is mainly to train domestic police forces against internal terrorists and they’re not being used to help execute violent espionage […] but if, say, that train blowing up was confirmed to be the work of an intelligence service, that would be a precursor for actual violence.” And Putin’s Russia, or his USSR resurgent, are just as involved: “Russia is negotiating with Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan to host military bases, while they have an investment in training Tajik border guards to secure their southern borders. They also have the ultimate goal of a sort of Pan-Eurasian economic union, modeled loosely on the EU.” To confuse things even more, China’s commercial entities have been infiltrating all levels of economies in the area. And like everywhere else in the world, China is winning favor financially: “If they can make money somewhere, they’ll try. They’ve mainly focused on infrastructure building, on a credit to debt basis, especially in Kyrgyzstan.” By all indications, Central Asia is becoming the crossroads of the three global superpowers. If history is any indication, this often leads to death and destruction.

A full scale armed conflict with Uzbekistan (who is allied with Kazakhstan, another emerging player) would likely drag in the Kyrgyz.

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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby gunjur » 30 Sep 2012 13:25

Russia will likely extend its lease on the Gabala radar complex in Azerbaijan
The Soviet Union built the Gabala Radar Station in 1985. It is currently operated by the Russian Aerospace Defense Forces.The complex, designed to detect missile launches as far away as the Indian Ocean, covers India and the entire Middle East.


Wiki on gabala radar station say this wrt strategic importance of this radar station
During the 33rd G8 summit in Germany on June 7–8, 2007, Russian president Vladimir Putin made an offer to deploy elements of an American anti-ballistic missile system in Azerbaijan, instead of Poland and the Czech Republic, using the Gabala Radar Station jointly with Russia. This offer came after the debate about the U.S. plan to deploy anti-ballistic missile system components in Eastern Europe to defend against possible ballistic missile attacks from Iran and North Korea. The plan met with sharp criticism by Russia which threatened to target Europe with its own ballistic missiles despite US claims that the system was not designed to defend against a large scale Russian attack. The Gabala radar is used as a sensor for the A-135 ABM system which Russia has operated in Europe, near Moscow, since the 1970s.

In the beginning of July 2007 the US announced that the Gabala installation was not an acceptable substitute for the Poland and Czech Republic sites. In July 2007 at a Kennebunkport summit Russia offered data from Armavir too. Russia says that Gabala identified 150 launches of scud missiles during the Iran-Iraq war and has been watching Iranian missile launches. Data from Gabala, together with Armavir, was offered to the United States as they provide good coverage of any potential launches from Iran.

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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby gunjur » 09 Oct 2012 21:34

Tribute to Lal Bahadur Shastri in Uzbekistan
The Indian Ambassador, Gitesh Sarma, in his address on the occasion expressed his gratitude to the people of Tashkent for remembering Shastriji every year (here, even kangress doesn't care :(( :(( ) and said it showed the closeness between the people of India and Uzbekistan.


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Found this news as well. It seems desi workers came out of their sdre mindset over here.
Kazakhstan and Indian workers fought for queue in tea-house
A fight between workers sprung up on D Island of the North-Caspian Project (Kashagan). The incident involved 30-40 employees of North Caspian Operating Company (NCOC). One foreign worker (indian??) was hospitalized after the fight. According to the press-service of the oblast prosecutor's office, the incident between Kazakhstan and Indian workers happened during a coffee-time.

"The argument happened because of the cross talk between two workers over a place in the queue in the tea-house. The workers then went back to work,".

"On the contrary, the majority of Indian citizens and the local workers are in good friendly relations. In general, the personnel regrets of the incident," the prosecutors stressed.

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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby gunjur » 15 Oct 2012 20:45

Who is Trading Well in Central Asia? Analysis of Exports from Regional Powers to the Region
http://www.ejbe.org/EJBE2012Vol05No09p021SUVANKULOV-GUC.pdf

Was really surprised that turkey scores heavily but india fares badly :( :(

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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby gunjur » 21 Oct 2012 18:23

Russian expansion in central asia

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The Aryan mythology & ideology in the colonization of Turkestan


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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby gunjur » 27 Oct 2012 14:37

China's Inadvertent Empire

A lengthy article on china's initiatives in central asia, quoting only certain excerpts. Those interested can read the entire article.
A number of American strategists have written that a potential U.S.-Chinese cold war will be less onerous than the struggle with the Soviet Union because it will require only a naval element instead of permanent land forces stationed in allied countries to rein in a continental menace. This may be true with regard to the South China Sea, for example, or the Malacca Strait. But it misses the significance of the vast landmass of Central Asia, where China is consolidating its position into what appears to be an inadvertent empire. As General Liu Yazhou of China’s People’s Liberation Army once put it, Central Asia is “the thickest piece of cake given to the modern Chinese by the heavens.”

For most of its unified history, China has been an economically focused land power. In geopolitical terms today, China’s rise is manifest particularly on land in Eurasia, far from the might of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and Washington’s rimland allies—and far also from the influence of other Asian powers such as India. Thus, policy makers should be dusting off the old works of Sir Halford Mackinder, who argued that Central Asia is the most pivotal geographic zone on the planet, rather than those of Alfred Thayer Mahan, the great U.S. strategist of sea power. Greater attention needs to be paid to China’s growing presence in Central Asia if the United States is to understand properly China’s geopolitical and strategic rise.

Looking at the arc of Chinese history, China has never been a naval power. Chinese empires have traditionally focused on their land power.

The capstone of the revitalized strategy toward Xinjiang was a May 2010 work conference that produced a number of key decisions:
-Richer provinces were given responsibility for parts of Xinjiang
- national energy companies exploiting Xinjiang’s rich hydrocarbon wealth were ordered to leave more money in the province in the form of taxes.
- SEZ’s were established in Kashgar (in southern Xinjiang Province) and Khorgos (a land crossing with Kazakhstan)
- Emphasizing external trade for provincial development, decision makers upgraded the annual Urumqi Foreign Economic Relations and Trade Fair to the far grander China-Eurasia Expo.

But a landlocked province such as Xinjiang can be developed only if its immediate periphery is stable and prosperous enough to trade with it. This concern is reflected in a combination of security, economic and cultural efforts China has instituted across the region. Interestingly, these efforts don’t seem to be a product of a complete and considered strategy. Hallmarks of this approach are heavy investments in natural resources; infrastructure development; the establishment of Confucius Institutes, nonprofit institutions sponsored by the Chinese government that promote Chinese language and culture; security exercises; and the establishment of a multilateral regional organization

Chinese firms are developing roads leading in and out of Xinjiang like the road from Kashgar to Osh in Kyrgyzstan through the Irkeshtam Pass. A train line is being built from China through Kyrgyzstan to Uzbekistan. Other infrastructure elements are being spearheaded or supported by Chinese firms, including gas metering in Uzbekistan, telecoms across the region and hydropower developments in Tajikistan.
Chinese firms often are the winning bidders in projects tendered by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). But China wants this infrastructure to be oriented in its direction rather than toward Afghanistan, as the ADB would prefer. The fruits of this road and rail construction are seen in the markets of Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan or as far as in Turkmenistan. Traders in Uzbekistan report using Chinese roads and rail links to get goods from Guangzhou and Urumqi to their markets.

China also has welcomed Central Asian students at its universities, offering scholarships through the Confucius Institutes and other outreach efforts. There are at least a thousand Turkmen students in China, and in 2010 nearly eight thousand Kazakh students studied in China. This is not a centralized effort by China, but local knowledge of Chinese language and familiarity with Chinese culture ultimately will come to shape the future of China’s inadvertent empire.

This is the story across Central Asia. Although various Chinese actors focus on individual parts of the overall regional engagement, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. No other outside force is as comprehensively involved, as dynamic in its engagement or as committed to the long term in all six Central Asian states, including Afghanistan. Seeing this, Central Asian government and business leaders increasingly throw in their lot with China. Kyrgyzstan does so because it must. Turkmenistan, courted by many other countries, does so because it wants to. In the rest of the countries, the situation is somewhere in between. Russia may find itself less integrated into the new web, which could lead to greater Chinese-Russian tensions.

Should Washington become preoccupied with the Asia-Pacific in its China policy, it not only will be missing the more profound manifestation of China’s global posture but also could find it far more difficult to cultivate relationships with the countries of Central Asia. China may not be seeking an empire in the region, but it is the only power active in a comprehensive, long-term manner. If other outside powers also do not engage, China’s lock on Central Asia, will be not only inadvertent but also inevitable.

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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby gunjur » 31 Oct 2012 17:21

^^^ the following was mentioned
policy makers should be dusting off the old works of Sir Halford Mackinder, who argued that Central Asia is the most pivotal geographic zone on the planet


Some details on mackinder's Heartland/Geographical Pivot theory.
Wiki on Heartland theory
The 1st line is more from a euro centric pov, the actually thing being the lines in bold. The bottom line of the theory could be summarised as
"Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland;
who rules the Heartland commands the World-Island;
who rules the World-Island controls the world
."


World-Island: interlinked continents of Europe, Asia, and Africa.
Heartland: lies at the centre of the world island, stretching from the Volga to the Yangtze and from the Himalayas to the Arctic.


Two PDF documents on current day relevance to heartland theory
The Heartland Theory and the Present-Day Geopolitical Structure of Central Eurasia PDF
Revisiting the Pivot: The Influence of Heartland Theory in Great Power Politics PDF

The sad part in both documents is that india is not being mention/considering as a serious player :(( :(( :(( :(

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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby Samudragupta » 31 Oct 2012 19:43

Gunjur wrote:The sad part in both documents is that india is not being mention/considering as a serious player :(( :(( :(( :(



India can never expect to be any player in this game for the simple reason of Geography...To be able to have an effect in this game India has to expand not only to HinduKush but simultaneously expand both in Tibet and across the Iran.....anything less than this there is a serious chance of being flanked from the East and West by both the Hans and the Persians....So lets forget Mackinder and concentrate on Mahan...

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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby gunjur » 31 Oct 2012 21:10

Samudragupta wrote:India can never expect to be any player in this game for the simple reason of Geography...


Maybe currently we only have the chahbahar route, we have to see how best we can utilise this option to reach out to central asia. But since this involves iran, again a lot of other variables gets thrown into the picture. But yes nothing beats a direct access to the region.

But on a side note even with direct access via both land & sea we have not reached out as much as we should have to one more region of importance for desh i.e. SE asia

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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby Agnimitra » 11 Nov 2012 04:29

Some debate in Tajikistan's discourse: "Is the Chinese dragon swallowing up Tajikistan?"

http://www.bbc.co.uk/persian/world/2012 ... kest.shtml

Summary: Some Tajik experts are saying that the number of Chinese workers stationed in the country, which is now over 100,000, is contrary to national interests. Over the last 10 years, China has become the biggest creditor of Tajikistan, and its most weighty economic partner. But Tajik expert Abulghaneem Mohamad Azeemov says that since over 1 million Tajiks are working in Russia and Kazakhstan, the presence of Chinese workers in building roads, tunnels and other projects is useful.

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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby brihaspati » 11 Nov 2012 06:09

Eastern Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, and Far Eastern Russia - all will most likely turn Chinese demographically. Southern Tajik, Kazakhstan is becoming Sunni-jihadized. Chechenya is becoming sunni and Arabized. Daghestan will follow Chechenyia. So - as it stands, by sheer demographics and audacity - the islamists and the Chinese will divide up CAR between themselves.

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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby gunjur » 11 Nov 2012 12:42

^^^ B ji when you say "southern tajik is becoming sunni-jihadized" , are you referring to southern tajikistan or southern tajiks i.e. afghan tajiks?

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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby Klaus » 01 Jan 2013 13:08

Uzbekistan has halted gas shipments to its energy strapped southern neighbor, Tajikistan.

The nation of 7.5 million (Tajikistan) is now moving ahead with plans for a Rogun Dam project that would tap into the mountain country's abundant water resources.

Uzbekistan fears the dam could badly hurt its large cotton industry and become a national security threat.

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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby svinayak » 03 Jan 2013 22:46

brihaspati wrote:Eastern Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, and Far Eastern Russia - all will most likely turn Chinese demographically. Southern Tajik, Kazakhstan is becoming Sunni-jihadized. Chechenya is becoming sunni and Arabized. Daghestan will follow Chechenyia. So - as it stands, by sheer demographics and audacity - the islamists and the Chinese will divide up CAR between themselves.

Have you been to these areas. One of my friend has visited for atleast 10 years all these countries and did business with the people. I have been interviewing him for the last 2 years trying to understand the area.


Chinese have no chance in these areas. Kazakhstan is one of the largest military outpost for Russian military.

They have large airforce in the border with PRC and all of them underground. Maybe atleast 200+ airforce planes are in those military stronghold.

Chinese traders only come to the border and they cannot do much with the population,
The Russian police and Russian security force is still active in most of these countries even now.


There is a big social transformation which is going on in these areas. The Russian influence of 100 years is still lingering and the economic links to Russia is still strong and the population has still Russian links.

The global population change is in such a way that these regions will still retain their old links of 100 years and population migration is difficult to these regions.

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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby gunjur » 07 Jan 2013 20:56

Rough Year Ahead for Central Asia?
Ethnic hostilities, Islamic insurgencies, nationalist rivalries, intraregional grievances, and spillover from the war in Afghanistan threaten to reintroduce civil conflict and the possibility of forced regime change from below.

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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby Agnimitra » 18 Feb 2013 09:31

Sword and Sufi.

Recently on Feb 14th, Uzbekistan and the Turkic world celebrated the 530th birthday of Babur.
The Resourceful Legacy of Bobur

A prominent "Sufi" and thinker who also served in the court of the Timurids was commemorated too:
The Man Who Won the Hearts

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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby member_19686 » 07 Mar 2013 09:04



A 12 part series made in 1980 as collaboration between Japan's NHK & China's CCTV.


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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby gunjur » 11 Jun 2013 12:22

Kazakhs launch China-Europe rail route
Kazakhstan has launched a new transit railway linking China to Europe, aiming to beat rival routes for journey time in the competition to handle a growing flow of goods along the ancient Silk Road trade route.

Now it takes just 15 days for trains carrying containers with electronic goods, construction materials and other cargo to cover the 6,750 mile route from Chongqing in southwest China to Duisburg in Germany's industrial Ruhr region.

Kazakhstan completed construction of a 183-mile stretch from Zhetygen to Korgas at the Chinese border, looping it in to the existing national railway network and opening the second China-Europe link across its territory.

The annual volume of freight turnover along the new route, guaranteed by China, was set to total 2 million metric tons this year and would rise eventually to 15 million metric tons.

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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby gunjur » 07 Aug 2013 17:37


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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby gunjur » 10 Oct 2013 21:09

Has China Shanghaied Central Asia?
In the run up to the 13th Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit last month, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited four Central Asian countries to discuss bilateral cooperation initiatives. The political and financial value of the agreements he reached reflect China’s growing influence in the region, primarily at Russia’s expense.

It should also be no surprise that the SCO summit issued statements that appeared to reflect China’s foreign policy views without necessarily calling for any action. Pre-summit discussions, while originally meant to focus on post-2014 Afghanistan, were dominated by the Syrian conflict. The Bishkek Declaration echoed previous Chinese statements on Iran, North Korea, and Syria, calling for political resolutions. On Iran’s nuclear program, the SCO said that the threat of military force and unilateral sanctions against Iran were unacceptable. SCO heads of state also came out strongly in favor of a negotiated settlement over North Korean nuclear issues. On Syria, the SCO issued a statement firmly opposed to any military action and to the “loosening of internal and regional stability in the Middle East,” similar to China’s previous statements that instability in the region would adversely affect the global economy and oil prices. Militarily, the SCO summit primarily reaffirmed its members’ concern for internal security and the threat of terrorism. With China, Russia, and Iran recently increasing their military cooperation and conducting joint military exercises, there are signs that the SCO may become more militarized over time.

China’s growing clout in the SCO — and, by extension, in Central Asia — is coming largely at the expense of Russia. As the Vilnius summit on the Eastern Partnership approaches, Russia has intensified its efforts to convince countries in its neighborhood to join the Eurasian Union, a Russo-centric integration project that President Vladimir Putin hopes will promote his legacy for a “greater Russia.” To do this, Russian officials have abandoned traditional, behind-closed-doors diplomacy and in many cases have started to openly bully neighbors like Ukraine or Moldova. While Central Asian states have also been asked to join the project, many simply play along with Russia, while developing stronger ties with China.

The SCO summit in Bishkek clearly affirmed China’s ambitious intentions and strategy for the SCO. As policy, China appears to be using multilateralism as a tool and a tactic, and not as an intergovernmental mechanism or institutional arrangement. According to Professor Song Xinning of Renmin University, “Since the 1990s, China has used multilateralism to solve bilateral issues — to this end, multilateral meetings are a useful platform to negotiate bilaterally. But we are still uncomfortable with multilateralism, and prefer bilateralism and multi-polarity.”

This attitude fundamentally differs from the Western and Russian approach that considers international and regional organizations primarily as tools to promote their own values and rules. Unlike Moscow, Beijing does not bind itself to restrictive trade policies or seek to influence political outcomes from behind the scenes that could be viewed as meddling in internal affairs. Unlike Washington, Beijing does not press Central Asian leaders to agree to a timetable and agenda for internal reform. And unlike the European Union and NATO, SCO members lack common values, so China evokes a “Shanghai Spirit” or “Silk Road Spirit” to foster internal cohesion while allowing Central Asian autocratic regimes a degree of autonomy.

In a speech that invoked Zhang Qian, the Han Dynasty envoy who supposedly first travelled the Silk Road, Chinese President Xi Jinping attempted to foster economic cooperation and called for the creation of a “Silk Road Economic Belt.” This economic belt would promote free trade, energy projects, connectivity, and currency circulation, mostly in China’s renminbi. Indeed, this New Silk Road is already being literally paved with highways, railways, fiber optics, and pipelines. While U.S. and EU policymakers have long pressed for multiple pipelines to transport Central Asian gas to European markets — such as the disputed Nabucco-South Stream route — it is China that has made the Central Asian states’ goal of diversification a reality by quietly funding and constructing pipelines eastward to China’s market. Apparently the Western vision of the New Silk Road, which is mostly vertical — from India to Afghanistan — and primarily addresses the needs of post-2014 Afghanistan, drastically differs from China’s vision. This difference allows the Chinese government to aggressively push business projects, while the West and its partners delegate the implementation of such projects to bureaucrats.

For now, China has an interest in maintaining the political status quo in Central Asia and retain access to the region’s energy reserves. But the dual threat to its power of political Islam and Western-backed democratic reforms has only further cemented its relationship with Central Asia, ultimately extending its sphere of influence.

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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby Atri » 10 Oct 2013 23:12

Historical relevance of CAR for India and Indic civilization.

Primary threat to Indian Civilization - Central Asian tribal mentality

People from Arabia and middle-east, either pre islamic or Islamic, were never concern for India. They invaded for only 100 years in history and were thoroughly defeated by Bhaarat. They are the concern of Persians. 8 invasions before Muhammad bin Qasim were defeated by Sindh for 80 years continuously. After Qasim's conquest, they were repelled from Sindh within few decades by Sumer Rajputs after battle of Rajasthan.

The problem of Central Asia

India's concern has always been central Asia. Even before Islam, central asians have been invading India since the days of Rigveda. In fact, Rigveda gives first account of probable central asian invasion on Bhaaratas in form of DashaRaagna Yuddha (War of Ten Kings). In fact, they are the only ones which were able to defeat Bhaarat partially or completely. Persians and Chinese had no problems with Indian civilization. The greeks which succeeded in venturing into Indian heartland were again Bactrian greeks from Afghanistan, not the original Greeks. Shaka, Kushan, Hun, Mongol, Ghuri, Gaznavi, Mughal, Turks, Durranis, Taliban, all are central asian intruders. The Islam which ventured to Bhaarat successfully was central asian variant of original Islam which was accepted because of its user-friendly nature for tribal societies of medieval world. The tribes of central asia were the common enemies of Bhaarat, Persia and China. In fact they were the only ones which at some point of time in history were able to dominate all three of these ancient civilizations.

The Central Asian mentality

Gaaznavis and Ghuris and other central asian rulers of Delhi Sultanate like Khiljis, Tughlaqs, Lodhis and Suri's, and Mughals invaded and looted Bhaarat and destroyed temples and converted people in the name of religion. But, it is matter of great speculation when it comes to how much Islamic were they, when seen from today's standards set by Taliban and Saudi Arabia about purity of Islam. So many of them were openly homosexuals. Akbar dared to start his own religion and started calling himself Zill-e-Ilaahi (shadow/image of god) thereby associating himself with Allah, which is the most venereal sin in Islam.

Interesting thing about the invaders like Mehmud of Gazni and Muhd Ghuri is that they were very much insiders when talking about contemporary Bhaarat. Until Twenty years before Mehmud of Gazni assumed power, the king of Gazni was Raaja Shiladitya. Now, it is not the case that Kings of Gaandhar did not make war with kings of Kekay and Punjab. They very much did. Just that, as long as the kings on both sides of Khyber were followers of Bhaaratiya traditions, this was strictly a political affair.

After defeat of Huns by Yashodharma in 5th century CE, India (the core and NWFP) enjoyed immunity from central asian invasions for 500 years. Such was the resounding victory of Bhaarat over Hunnic invaders which were powerful enough to overrun the mighty Guptas. In those 500 years, entire southern Afghanistan was brought under Bhaaratiya civilizational sphere thoroughly. This is evident from the fact that Iran was conquered by Arabs completely by 651 AD. Transoxania and upper central asia was conquered and thoroughly Islamized by 709. Sindh was invaded repeatedly for 80 years before Muhammad bin Qasim succeeded. In spite of all this, it took the year of 962 for Alptigin, predecessor of Sebuktigin, to conquer Gazni from Indic king, Shiladitya. And within a twenty years of fall of Gazni, attacks started on Raja Jayapala of NWFP. Afghanistan resisted for 250 years as integral part of Bhaaratiya civilization before being conquered by Islam.

After Islamic conquest, as the rulers of Afghanistan went away from influence of Bhaaratiya civilization, even they started behaving like their central asian hunnic predecessors. Since, Afghanistan was not conquered by Arabs, but by Islamized hordes of transoxania and Iran.

The Road Ahead

Since its creation, Pakistanis have been wanting to move away from their Indian identity and past. They tend to venerate central asian invaders by giving their names to their missiles just because they invaded India. They conveniently forget that these guys (Ghori, Abdali, Gaznavi et al) raped Punjab and their Hindu and Muslim Punjabi ancestors much more than the ancestors of Hindus in Ganges valley. Thus it shows that the "root" of Bhaarat's concern was always the central Asian tribal tendency and horde mentality and not Arabic method of conquest. Pakistan has taken up that mentality and tribal tendency which was always Bhaarat's pain since antiquity.

That mentality with or without Islam, has always been troubling Indians. Just that before Islamization, the problem was comparatively benign; after Islamization of that mentality, it became a malignant problem for Bhaaratiya civilization. That mentality has now migrated from Central Asia into Indian subcontinent in form of Pakistan.

Interestingly, in post independence era, Bhaarat has made a thorough peace with actual heartland of that mentality. Central asia, under Russia's dominance is extremely friendly towards Bhaarat. Afghanistan, was made extremely friendly before civil war and take-over by taliban. Post 9/11, things are again turning in favour of India in Afghanistan. India even has a military base in central asian heartland of Tajikistan.

Thus, it is seen that Bhaaratiya civilization has been eliminating the anti-Bhaaratiya diatribe in Central Asia in past 60 years and have trapped the rabid anti-Indian central asian mentality in Pakistan (Pakistani Punjab, to be precise) from both the sides. Now, in the desperation to fulfil its imbibed central asian traits and instincts, Pakistan will "invade" Bhaarat out of this migrated tendency.

If Bhaarat can withstand that invasion and press it from both the sides, this mentality will fast loose steam and Pakistani people will be forced to rediscover their Bhaaratiyatva (Indicness), just like Shakas, Kushans, Bactrians, Greeks and Huns did.

If Bhaarat fails, that central asian mentality will again enter triumphantly into Indian heartland and fulfil its tryst with the destiny. It is the tryst of Bhaaratiya civilization with this mentality since dawn of civilization. Either of them has to succeed.

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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby ramana » 12 Oct 2013 19:42

From Ram Narayanan:



http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2013/10/12 ... nd-russia/



EAST ASIA FORUM


India’s Central Asia ambitions outfoxed by China and Russia



October 12th, 2013



Author: Micha’el Tanchum, Shalem College

Over one year after the announcement of its ‘Connect Central Asia Policy’, New Delhi has been sidelined in four of the five Central Asian Republics. India’s revamped Central Asian initiative is partly directed at counter-balancing Chinese and Pakistani influence in the region. But its attempts to accomplish this goal while maintaining India’s historical insistence on strategic autonomy from Moscow and Washington has done it no favours.

http://www.eastasiaforum.org/wp-content ... /india.jpg

At present, Moscow has essentially shut India out from Kyrgyzstan after sending the first instalments of a new US$1 billion military aid package to the country. This follows the strategic setback that India suffered in 2010 when it lost use of the Tajikistan Ayni airbase to Russia. And in the two larger, energy-rich nations of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, New Delhi has also been sidelined by China’s assertive energy policy.

In early September this year, India’s loss of an 8.4 per cent stake in Kazakhstan’s Kashagan oil field to the Chinese National Petroleum Company (CNPC) was a major blow to its goal of developing long-term partnerships in energy development with the Central Asian Republics. India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corporation had originally concluded an agreement in November 2012 to purchase an 8.4 per cent interest in Kazakhstan’s Kashagan oil field, pending Astana’s approval. The Kashagan field is considered to be the largest oil discovery in the last 30 years and is the world’s most expensive oil extraction project. New Delhi viewed the US$5 billion stake in Kashagan as a significant foothold in Kazakhstan’s oil industry. About one month before the second round of New Delhi’s India-Central Asia Dialogue, the Indian government announced it had received positive signs from Astana that it would approve the sale.

But in July this year, the Kazakhstan Ministry of Oil and Gas pre-empted the proposed sale. Instead, the Kazakhstani state-owned energy firm KazMunaiGas bought the stake in the Kashagan field and then sold an 8.33 per cent interest to China’s CNPC for the same sum of US$5 billion. The head of KazMunaiGas informed the press that CNPC had promised up to US$3 billion to cover half the cost of Kazakhstan’s financing of the second phase of Kashagan’s development. In a public display of China’s diplomatic triumph, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Astana in early September to sign the acquisition agreement with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, which formed one out of 22 agreements concluded between China and Kazakhstan that amounted to some US$30 billion in total.

India has been similarly outmanoeuvred by China’s energy and trade diplomacy in Turkmenistan. India had placed great hopes on the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline, which is intended to transport gas from Turkmenistan across Afghanistan and Pakistan to the Indian town of Fazilka close to the Indo-Pakistani border — however, construction of the pipeline has still not begun. Meanwhile, China has also inaugurated the operations of Turkmenistan’s Galkynysh gas field, the world’s second-largest gas field. A highly symbolic accomplishment for China, the Galkynysh field was developed by a CNPC-led consortium without the participation of any major Western energy companies. Although the TAPI pipeline was originally intended to transport gas from Turkmenistan’s Dauletabad field, the Galkynysh field now provides Beijing with significant influence over the future of the TAPI pipeline project. Perhaps tellingly, Turkmenistan sent no delegation of experts to New Delhi’s June 2013 India-Central Asia Dialogue.

Therefore, unless New Delhi wishes to partner with Moscow in counter-balancing Chinese advances in Central Asia, India’s only remaining option is to develop a strategic partnership with Uzbekistan. The two countries share vital strategic interests. As Afghanistan’s Central Asian neighbour to the north, Uzbekistan will play a crucial role in a post-NATO Afghanistan. Like India, Uzbekistan is keen to prevent the resurgence of Pakistani-sponsored Islamist proxies in Afghanistan. The success of India’s grand North-South Transit Corridor (NSTC) initiative will also depend on Uzbekistan’s cooperation as its northern outlet to Central Asia. The corridor would run from a future Indian-constructed port in Chabahar, Iran, to the Indian-built Zaranj-Delaram highway across Afghanistan.

But Uzbekistan has currently moved to deepen its ties with Washington. In June 2012, Uzbekistan’s President Karimov withdrew his country’s membership in the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and has been pushing for closer ties with NATO. If Uzbekistan and the US develop a strong strategic partnership, New Delhi’s insistence on strategic autonomy based on a moribund legacy of non-alignment will probably preclude India from pursuing the same.

India’s ‘Connect Central Asia Policy’ was supposed to bolster New Delhi’s NSTC initiative. However, the network of energy and security relations created by China and Russia in Central Asia will probably result in India’s NSTC being supplanted by an SCO-managed, trade and transport corridor stretching from the Pacific to the Baltic. New Delhi’s poor manoeuvring in Central Asia, a region critical for its security as well as its energy and trade needs, also raises serious questions about its ability to be a partner in future regional arrangements elsewhere in Asia.

Micha’el Tanchum is a Fellow at the Department of Middle East and Islamic Studies,Shalem College, Jerusalem, and at the Asia and Middle East Units, Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace, Hebrew University. Dr Tanchum also teaches in the Department of East Asian Studies, Tel Aviv University.



Will comment later in evening.

abhishek_sharma
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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby abhishek_sharma » 13 Oct 2013 06:56


gunjur
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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby gunjur » 26 Feb 2014 20:35

Where In Central Asia Would The U.S. Put A Drone Base?
The U.S. is making plans to set up drone bases in Central Asia in the case that the government of Afghanistan doesn't allow U.S. troops to remain in that country past this year, the Los Angeles Times has reported. The military wants to maintain the ability to carry out attacks against militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan even if it has no military presence in those countries, and the next best options are the Central Asian states. The officials interviewed didn't specify which countries were being considered: "There are contingency plans for alternatives in the north," said one official quoted by the paper.

So which would it be? The story's publication prompted much speculation among Central Asia watchers as to where the putative base might be located. Each of the three Central Asian states bordering Afghanistan would have serious downsides from the U.S.'s perspective. Tajikistan is highly susceptible to Russian pressure, and the Kremlin is surely not inclined to let the U.S. reestablish its military presence in Central Asia. Uzbekistan might be willing to host a base and is relatively immune to Russian pressure, but is a bit of a bete noire in Washington and setting up a drone base there would surely face resistance from human rights-inclined members of Congress. And Turkmenistan would have some of the same problems as Uzbekistan, but also has a proudly held neutrality that would seem to preclude hosting U.S. drones.

One wrinkle that could affect the decision is whether the bases are run by the military or the CIA. As the Times notes, the current drone program in Afghanistan and Pakistan is operated by the CIA, which can remain covert. President Barack Obama has said he wants to shift U.S. drone programs to the military, but in this case that would require the bases to be relatively public:

In any case, Congress has balked at handing CIA drone strikes to the military. Key lawmakers favor keeping the CIA program active, especially for Pakistan.

"They don't think we're as precise as the CIA and [worry] that the program would become more transparent if we took over," a senior Defense official said.

Alexander Cooley, a political scientist at Barnard College who has written extensively on U.S. military basing issues in Central Asia, told The Bug Pit that the U.S. may be able to work out a deal to trade some other priority in exchange for Moscow's acquiescence to a drone base in Central Asia:

Exercising the zero-option in Afghanistan would once again elevate the importance of the Central Asian states for U.S. security activities. The article mentions possible support for drone strikes in Pakistan. But facilities across Central Asia could support a number of counterterrorism activities and offer important access points into Afghanistan should the situation deteriorate.

"Securing Moscow's acquiescence for future US basing and/or CT operations in any of the Central Asian countries will be difficult. Moscow pressed Kyrgyzstan hard to terminate the US presence at Manas later this year and holds significant leverage over Tajikistan. But Russia could also threaten Tashkent, possibly by limiting the numbers of Uzbek migrants working in Russia or withholding cooperation on interior security matters. There is also a possibility that Moscow demands some sort of geopolitical trade-off or significant concession from the US or NATO in exchange for dropping its current strong objections to any future US security presence in the Central Asian region."

Stacie Pettyjohn, an expert on military basing issues at the American think tank RAND Corporation, tells The Bug Pit that a drone base in Central Asia would likely embroil the U.S. in an unhealthy relationship:

"None of the countries bordering Afghanistan is particularly attractive as a potential host nation. The U.S. went down this route before in the early years of Operation Enduring Freedom and encountered problems. They are all authoritarian states and would be providing the US with access primarily for financial or material compensation. Both of these characteristics are problematic and would make them unreliable partners. Moreover, if the United States has only one Central Asian airbase, the host nation would have significant leverage that it could use to essentially extort Washington, forcing it to pay more and more to retain access."

For what it's worth, the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency just advertised for a job for an intelligence officer to be posted in Dushanbe to work on "short and long term analysis of military capabilities, infrastructure or political-military issues."

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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby gunjur » 24 Mar 2014 20:23

Central Asian Fortune in Chinese Hands?
While China’s reemergence is the front-page story of this century, the majority of its Central Asian neighbors are socioeconomically troubled. Undoubtedly developmental challenges have to be met from within, but how important is China to Central Asian stability and economic growth?

Economically, China is already the largest trading partner of four out of the five former Soviet Republics (the exception is Uzbekistan), and a main source of foreign investment. China has increasingly brought landlocked Central Asia into its economic orbit: between 2000 and 2012 bilateral trade (Afghanistan excluded) grew a whopping 46-fold, from about $1 billion to $46 billion. China is also a strategic partner of five of the six Central Asian states, and President Xi Jinping accentuated that status by inking large deals in energy and construction during his visit to the region this September.

All of this is the culmination of China’s diplomacy paradigm in Central Asia, in place since the mid 1990s. The paradigm been characterized by resource extraction and trade; securing land energy supply by importing gas from Turkmenistan and both gas and oil from Kazakhstan; and protecting China’s western territories from possible insurgency spillovers. While currently these threats seem relatively marginal, domestic and regional stability is key to China’s steady progress, an idea frequently expressed in China by the government and scholars.

Correspondingly, China has pushed for regional security cooperation under the auspices of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which Beijing founded in 2001. With observer states included, the SCO accounts for half of the world’s population. Even if in different capacities, it is the only security organization in the world to embrace four major civilizations – a historic feat.

Through the SCO political and economic ties have fortified, and member states have developed greater mutual trust in military affairs as cooperation between defense ministries progressively deepens. In practice, so far, this has mainly resulted in collective drug trafficking mitigation, fighting organized crime, and border security enhancement. The SCO still excludes hard security – actual defensive military capacity.

While Beijing primarily sees raising living standards in this region as the antidote for instability, Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi has recently stressed that there is opportunity to build the SCO “into a community of interest” by expanding the scope of collaboration and to “build up a security shield” to detect and handle various security threats. Interestingly, this path could deviate from Beijing’s policy of non-interference.

The question is whether current economic engagement and soft security provision can prevent and handle potential mayhem in Central Asia. Challenges and threats confront the region – waiting for havoc to justify hard security capacity building is passive. While Kazakhstan is performing impressively as the product of pragmatic economic governance and an impressive natural resources endowment, other Central Asian states are still struggling in their transition to modernity. Leadership succession is not too far down a bumpy road. The four most troubled Central Asian states – Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan – face grave developmental insecurities: inadequate public services, porous borders, feeble security forces and fledgling economies. Running an indigenous economic growth mechanism in these states without solid foreign partnerships is a major challenge.

At the same time, the regional security climate will change after U.S.-led international forces depart Afghanistan in 2014. Afghanistan’s position at the crossroads of Central and South Asia could possibly see insurgency spillover in vulnerable neighboring countries.

Moreover, Central Asian states feel little allegiance to one another. As rivalries persist, regional institution building from a Eurasian stakeholder would be most welcome. Given its comprehensive resources and economic prowess, China is the most qualified candidate. While Russia obviously has historic, lingual and cultural ties and still considers Central Asia its “sphere of influence,” it is not the resources-hungry manufacturing powerhouse that China is. Emerging India has too many domestic challenges that need to be addressed first, and the EU is mired in introspection.

Understandably, some would state that first and foremost China is responsible for its own developmental challenges. Meeting the needs of its population, one-fifth of all people on earth, is its most important contribution to humanity. Yet while that is irrefutable, instability in Central Asia could stall China’s geostrategic progress in securing land access to the energy riches of the region and the Greater Middle East; jeopardize a shortcut to the Indian Ocean through Pakistan; and threaten Beijing’s ambitions to connect with the major European economies overland.

Moreover, look east and China is surrounded on all sides by states friendly with the United States. Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, and Myanmar are a few examples of neighbors that find China’s growing influence disconcerting. That underlines the necessity for Beijing of a regional defensive body that embraces China’s west and north.

It would be prudent, then, for Beijing to have the SCO begin a dialogue on clear blueprints for conflict prevention, crisis management, defense cooperation and post-conflict rehabilitation. While this is no easy task given the security calculations of regional powers and the existing overlapping security structures initiated by Moscow, the cost of inaction is higher. The good news is that China and Russia have started to recognize each other as their most important strategic partners in Eurasia, and their relations have never been as sound as they are now. This unique situation affords an excellent opportunity to expedite the common development of SCO members and observers.

Nonetheless, there are a few bottlenecks that need to be addressed first. The first is the name Shanghai Cooperation Organization. No regional security body should bear the name of single country or city – it is simply bad diplomacy.

The second is the delay in granting current observers – particularly Afghanistan, India and Pakistan – member status. Current members could catalyze the political, legal and technical preparation of these nations for SCO membership through stronger support. India’s member status could (or rather should) dampen any concerns Moscow and Delhi have about Beijing’s geopolitical intentions in Central and South Asia. China should also mitigate the hazard that Russia might lean more westward, as advocated by Zbigniew Brzezinski, through fortified security and economic cooperation. This latter is materializing particularly fast; forecasts have Sino-Russian bilateral trade at $200 billion by 2020.

The SCO should also expedite discourse with all Central Asian stakeholders on collective hard-security provision under agreed scenarios of turmoil in the Central Asian states. Defining the threshold for interference is no easy task. To make sure Afghanistan is not forgotten again, an “Afghanistan Mission” under SCO auspices for this economically troubled country could be created once the U.S.-Afghanistan Bilateral Security Agreement is signed – most likely in the next few weeks.

While more opportunities than challenges await the SCO, the suggestions made here will not be easy to achieve. It will be difficult for China not to step on toes, as the weight and interests of all stakeholders need to be incorporated. But if China can indirectly support Central Asia in eliminating the conditions that breed social unrest by improving living standards and molding a more prepared and more muscular SCO, good fortune will have befallen Central Asia – and China.


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