Central Asia - News & Discussions

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gunjur
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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby gunjur » 14 Apr 2014 11:15

Combating terrorism in Central Asia: What will US, China, India and Pakistan do?

There has been some speculation after the Kunming attack in March this year about how terrorism in Central Asia might result in strange bedfellows. The knife attack in the southern Chinese city left 33 dead, including the assailants, and 143 wounded. The attack – pre-meditated, methodical, and outside Xinjiang – does not fit the previous pattern of Uighur violence, and China has been quick to place the ultimate blame on Islamic terror from Central Asia. After initial reluctance, the United States also declared the Kunming attack an act of terrorism.

Some observers believe that such unrest in Central Asia will reorient geopolitical alliances in the region. China will move closer to the United States to fight the common enemy, Islamic terrorism, and become warmer towards India. Simultaneously, rifts will appear in China’s relations with Pakistan over the latter’s alleged training of Uighur militants and as well as Beijing’s common cause with Delhi.

It is unlikely, however, that such an alliance will materialise. The complex relations between the countries in the region – their mutual animosity and suspicion – raise the threshold for cooperation above the potential for Islamic terrorism in Central Asia to be a serious threat.

China has long claimed the unrest in Xinjiang province to have an Islamist dimension with ties to cells in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Pakistan, but there have been few takers for these accusations. Several of the more infamous incidents – the Ürümqi bus bombing in 1997, the Aksu bombing in 2010, and the Hotan and Kashgar attacks in 2011 were all carried out by Uighurs, a persecuted ethnic minority in north-western China. None of the violence so far has revealed the modus operandi of the Al-Qaeda or its affiliates, and has therefore received no attention from the international community. The United States initially hesitated to declare even the Kunming attacks an act of terrorism and did so only upon chiding from Beijing.

India
To gain sympathy for its fight, China may reach out to its neighbours. India, long a target of Islamic militancy, is a natural partner in the war against Islamism in Central Asia. Furthermore, like Beijing, India has high hopes for energy investments in the region and would not like to see an increase of militancy there. However, any partnership with India is likely to be more on paper than on the ground; India has steadfastly refused to take up a greater role in Afghan security despite its own assets in the country repeatedly coming under attack.

Delhi also has its own problems with Beijing: geopolitical rivalries aside, China invaded India in 1962 and still holds Indian territory in Aksai Chin. Beijing is also laying claim to even more in Arunachal Pradesh. In addition, Beijing has liberally armed Pakistan against India with the exchange of even nuclear weapons designs and missiles (though more of this came from North Korea). China’s stance on terrorism in Kashmir, from Delhi’s perspective, also leaves a lot to be desired. There is little reason for India to want to exert itself in coming to China’s aid in Central Asia if its neighbour can be distracted elsewhere.

Pakistan
China’s strategic and regional partner, Pakistan, cannot offer much assistance either. Islamabad may have little to do with the attacks in China, and the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) has less perfect control over all the groups it trains and funds than is commonly thought. If aid is flowing to the Uighurs from the badlands of Pakistan’s northwest, it may be without the approval or even knowledge of Islamabad.

While Beijing can threaten to curtail military and economic aid to Pakistan, China has long used the Islamic republic as a counterweight to India. It is unlikely that this policy will be reconsidered short of a minor revolution in Xinjiang. Pakistan also knows that it remains one of Beijing’s few reliable allies in the region and a reasonably sized market for China’s wares, including weapons and nuclear reactors. The symbiotic relationship that Beijing and Islamabad have nurtured over decades will require much more than a body count in the low two digits to rupture.

The United States
The United States is already embroiled in wars against Islamist forces in several places in the world, and in many others, it is actively giving aid to opposing forces. Unhindered by regional rivalries, Washington would seem an ideal partner for China’s war against the Uighurs. Unfortunately for Beijing, the United States’ present involvements have already strained its treasury and Washington is not trawling for another conflict to get involved in.

Despite the rhetoric of the Global War on Terror, the United States is very flexible in its designation of terrorism. After the attacks of September 2001, Washington declared Al-Qaeda and the Taliban as terrorist organisations, and US forces flew half way around the world to invade Afghanistan and kill Osama bin Laden. However, despite much evidence that points to Pakistan as a hotbed of terrorist activity, Islamabad remains one of the United States’ closest non-NATO allies. Washington has continually ignored Indian warnings about cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan and maintains its arms sales to the country.

Similarly, while the United States has waged an under-reported drone war in Yemen, it has removed the Iranian Mojahedin-e-Khalq from the list of terrorist organisations and rationalised support to “moderate” Islamists in Syria against Bashar al Assad. To cover its retreat from Afghanistan with some dignity, Washington has come up with some fascinating new vocabulary such as “good Taliban”. Simply put, the United States is interested in fighting only its own terrorists.

There is little awareness, let alone sympathy, for the Uighur cause in the United States; however, if the Uighurs were to limit their violence to Chinese targets alone and avoid flamboyant displays of links with the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, or its affiliates, they might find private pockets of sympathy in the United States; neither would it be detrimental to Washington’s interests to have its Great Power rival distracted by domestic security concerns.

Others
China’s overtures to the United States and India are bound to cause concern in Moscow and Tehran. Though both Iran and Russia desire the demise of terror groups in Central Asia, neither would be too keen in seeing renewed US presence in the region. For that matter, neither would Beijing. With ambitious plans in the offing for the revival of the ancient Silk Road and Sino-Russian energy ties, Beijing will have to take regional dissatisfaction over its closer ties to the United States into consideration.

_________________

The notion that an arrival of Islamist terrorism in Central Asia will alter regional geopolitics is premised upon two questionable assumptions: 1.) that Islamism is a greater threat than mutual rivalries; and 2.) that the Islamism is genuine and not a cover for an undercurrent of ethnic grievances indulged only by Islamist groups. This is all, of course, assuming that China’s claims of Islamist links are true. For now, however, no one will play Beijing’s game.



Jaideep spends most of his time avoiding work; when not married to his books, he likes to cook, sail, and scuba. A great admirer of Hatshepsut, Jaideep refuses to live in the 21st century. He grew up in the Middle East and Europe. When forced into wage slavery, he is a doctoral student in History at Vanderbilt University.

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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby ramana » 15 Apr 2014 05:29

Gunjur, US is running with hares and hunting with hounds. Its supports KSA, TSP and other Sunni Terrorist. It is against Iran, Syria, Hezboallah and its Shia terrorists. At same time it selectively supports and fights both type of terrorists.

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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby gunjur » 15 Apr 2014 15:35

ramana wrote:Gunjur, US is running with hares and hunting with hounds. Its supports KSA, TSP and other Sunni Terrorist. It is against Iran, Syria, Hezboallah and its Shia terrorists. At same time it selectively supports and fights both type of terrorists.


I don't remember correctly, but i think in one of robert ludlum's book the central characters in the book say that the biggest terror org in world is see eye yay.

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EDIT: i just noticed that the thread has turned a new page or has it....

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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby gunjur » 25 Apr 2014 22:53

Caspian-Littoral States to Limit Outside Military on the Sea
The “Caspian Five” will probably agree to limit access for third-party military forces to the Caspian Sea and the surrounding region, Tengrinews reports.

The Caspian nations are specifically mulling the Convention on the Independence of the Caspian Sea. If ratified, it is expected to limit outside military troops in the Caspian Sea region, Tengrinews cited Kommersant as reporting.

The Caspian Five include five countries with access to the Caspian Sea. These are Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Iran and Turkmenistan.

On April 22, the ministers of foreign affairs of Azerbaijan – Elmar Mamedyarov, Iran – Mohammad Javad Zarif, Kazakhstan – Yerlan Idrissov and Turkmenistan – Rashid Meredov – met in Moscow to discuss the upcoming 4th Caspian Summit, to be held in Astrakhan, Russia this fall.

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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby gunjur » 15 Jun 2014 16:35

Look North to Connect Central Asia
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has suggested that India’s foreign policy will be intertwined with trade, and focus more on the immediate neighbourhood. Central Asia also fits comfortably within Modi’s rubric of a co-prosperity sphere for the region and will enhance the stability and security in Central and South Asia. All that is required now is for Modi to ‘Look North’, suggests Jaideep A Prabhu

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) returned to power after a decade in opposition. Led to its highest ever Lok Sabha tally by Narendra Modi, it is the first time since 1984 that the BJP or any party has secured a majority on its own. This will, observers hope, bring a new decisiveness to the Prime Minister’s Office that has been lacking for the past 10 years.

In his election campaign, Modi talked about India’s relations with its neighbours in terms of trade and security. Departing from India’s traditional emphasis on ties with the superpowers, Modi focussed on India’s immediate neighbours in Asia, particularly the members of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and Japan.

Though Central Asia did not feature prominently in Modi’s speech, it would be unwise to read too much into this. The region has geographic proximity and remains vital to Indian trade and security interests.

Both sides have been subdued over the potential for better relations. The Central Asian states - Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Kyrgyzstan - used to see India from the perspective of the Soviet Union, a friendly state which received aid and preferential economic treatment from Moscow.

However, since the economic liberalisation began to bear fruit by the end of the previous millennium, India became a donor state to the Central Asian Republics (CAR).

A Positive View

Central Asian capitals have a generally positive view of India; some of the old hands from the Soviet era still populate the bureaucracy and remember the country fondly. More importantly, India has not used its image as the world’s largest democracy to push for liberalism and democracy in the region.

India’s tiny footprint in Central Asia is not seen as threatening whereas China’s economic involvement in the region is viewed with suspicion. Russia is not much liked either due to dissatisfaction over its geopolitical domination over the ‘five-Stans’. The United States is also suspect because its commitment to the region, combined with its constant harangues about human rights, is not trusted.

Other smaller players like Iran and Turkey have had limited success because they can’t provide solution to the problems of the region.

India still depends on Russia and other foreign suppliers for an overwhelming portion of its military equipment in Central Asia. However, the rapidly growing economy of India makes it an ideal partner for prosperity.

Shared Interests

Some of Central Asia’s positive view of India is also due to the several common goals they share. All parties are worried about the threat of terrorism which may boil over from Afghanistan and Pakistan. There is eagerness to develop energy infrastructure that can deliver oil and gas to India’s growing economy. The best part is that there is no direct conflict of interest between India and the CARs.

Uncertainty about Indian Policy

Despite the goodwill and potential for a rewarding relationship, the CARs remain uncertain about Indian policy towards them. How will Delhi’s alignment with the United States and the European Union on the one hand and Russia and China on the other affect them? India is proud of its non-alignment, but what would that mean for the region? What is India willing to offer that others cannot? How does India see Central Asia? These questions need clarification from Delhi.

Frustration also mounts from the lethargic pace of Indian business. The perception in Central Asia is that not only are Indian investments paltry compared to Chinese projects, but India is extremely slow in its delivery mechanism. India’s political dilly dallying and sluggish bureaucracy has put in doubt the country’s seriousness and ability to be a reliable partner. While several memoranda of understanding have been signed between India and the CARs, the former is not even in the top ten countries exploring the region for oil and gas. Trade between the two regions at the end of 2012 remained at a paltry $700 million, while that between China and the CARs topped $46 billion. South Block’s ambitious Connect Central Asia initiative and the International North-South Trade Corridor (INSTC) connecting South Asia to Europe by road, ship, rail, and pipeline via Central Asia and the Caucasus has yet not materialised.

Expanding Chinese Footprint

China, on the other hand, has invested tens of billions of dollars in road, rail, and pipeline projects, all linking Central Asia to China. In 2000, China launched the Great Western Development Plan, which has made Xinjiang a vital trade and energy corridor along the New Silk Road.

Through the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) as well as bilateral agreements, China has invested over $30 billion in Kazakhstan to purchase MangistauMunaiGas (MMG). In Kashagan oil field, China has been instrumental in the world’s largest discovery of oil in the last 30 years.

Beijing has signed a $15 billion deal with neighbouring Uzbekistan for oil, gas, and uranium, and has started production at Galkynysh in Turkmenistan, the world’s second-largest gas field. $4 billion has gone from Beijing to Ashgabat for developing the gas field at South Yolotan, and extended $10 billion to the whole region during the international economic recession through the SCO.

China is working on its New Silk Road to connect the Pacific Ocean to the Mediterranean and Baltic Seas. Once completed, it will lower cost of transport, bring Central Asia transit fees, and bypass India in the economic development of the region.

Interestingly, despite the enormous flow of investments from Beijing, there is very little trust of its motives among the Central Asian Republics. The Chinese practice of using its own labour force, for example, has not gone down well with local communities, who are themselves migrant labourers in Russia due to unemployment back home.

In addition, many think it is only a matter of time before Chinese immigrant workers settle in the Central Asian Republics and take away more jobs. China’s brutal repression of the Uighur in Xinjiang has not gone unnoticed; despite its Soviet past, Central Asia remains a tribal society and old loyalties run deep. It is also unlikely that Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, or Kyrgyzstan will soon forget that they ceded land to China to maintain peace, particularly when the ensuing protests removed the Kyrgyz president from office.

Balancing Great Powers

It is in this light that the partnership with India has proven disappointing. Its failure to reap a bonanza so far has pushed Central Asia closer to the Chinese economy, and kept their energy exports vulnerable to Russian transit policies.

However, one must also consider the fractious nature of the region. Rivalry, corruption, social polarisation, poverty, crime, narco-trafficking, and the lack of stable institutions have made Central Asian states politically unstable and daunting to business.

Although India and China are both concerned by terrorism in the region, China would like to curtail Indian influence in Central Asia as it would eventually undermine Beijing’s goals vis-à-vis Pakistan.

Though Russia might prefer India as a partner in Central Asia to balance China, it would be unwilling to share its backyard with anyone. The current Ukraine crisis has made China more useful to Russia while India’s diversification of its weapons suppliers in recent years has irked Moscow. As a result, India can expect little cooperation from either power in the joint development of energy and transportation infrastructure in Central Asia. Similarly, the United States and India cannot see eye-to-eye in Central Asia because of the former’s antipathy towards Iran and its ambiguous position towards Pakistan and its terrorist networks.

Fresh Impetus

With a new prime minister, India has fresh impetus to pursue its mutual interests with Central Asia. A new government with a clear mandate from the people and no baggage is ideally positioned to forge stronger ties with the region. First, India must recognise that it needs individual policies for each of Central Asia’s five states - each have their own priorities, problems, and the rivalries between them must be kept in mind. Second, India has so far played up its historical ties to the region and that is good soft power. However, soft power alone does not build partnerships. If it did, Turkey and Iran would be the dominant powers in Central Asia and not Russia and China. India must acknowledge that Central Asian leaders are pragmatic about security and trade bottom lines in their dealings. Third, India needs to shift focus from mega-projects to smaller, localised projects that will build trade relations across a spectrum of fields.

India can lend its expertise in chemical equipment, electronics, telecommunications, mining, IT services, tourism, environmental technology, education, healthcare, construction, and agriculture. Cooperation in archaeology, space, and the nuclear field is also possible. This is for two reasons. First, it will be difficult to break into oil & gas exploration and development at this late stage without even having a clear idea of how the pipelines from Central Asia will run to India. Second, rivalries between the CARs, such as that between Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan over hydropower and water, will also delay hydrocarbon transit; early success is important to boost confidence and inspire greater engagement.

The single most important long term project India can undertake in Central Asia is the INSTC. This trade corridor is not dependent on just hydrocarbons for its profitability, but also minerals and manufactured goods. India’s new Prime Minister Modi has campaigned aggressively on infrastructural development within India during campaigning. India undoubtedly has the skills required to build the INSTC but has been lacking the political will to do so. With Iran becoming less of an international pariah, Modi only needs the political will to expand his infrastructural vision beyond India for the benefit of all concerned.

Prime Minister Modi has suggested that India’s foreign policy will be intertwined with trade and focus more on the immediate neighbourhood such as SAARC, ASEAN, Japan, and South Korea. He has prioritised infrastructural development within India as well as with important trading partners such as Myanmar.

Central Asia also fits comfortably within Modi’s rubric of a co-prosperity sphere for the region and will enhance the stability and security in Central and South Asia. All that is required now is for Modi to ‘Look North’.


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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby gunjur » 15 Oct 2014 15:11

Arab Spring heading for Tashkent - By MK Bhadrakumar
Uzbekistan is the key country in Central Asia — although Kazakhs intensely dislike hearing this — and what happens in that country will be of immense consequence to regional security and stability of the vast space between the Caspian and the western borders of China — perhaps, even including Xinjiang. Yet, there is little awareness among Indian scholars and think tankers that Uzbekistan is veritably a volcano waiting to erupt. True, it is a highly secretive country which yields its secrets very grudgingly to outsiders.

Yet, in bits and pieces, one could hear through the past year or so the rumblings of something very sinister going on in Uzbekistan. Three weeks ago, it was officially stated in Tashkent that the dictator-president Islam Karimov’s daughter Gulnara (who used to be widely discussed in the West as a potential successor to her father some day) has been put under house arrest.

Now, when a dictator cannot save his daughter from incarceration and persecution, it is clear that he no longer controls the levers of power. Indeed, a grim succession struggle has begun in Tashkent. There are alarming reports that the Uzbek volcano might erupt any day.

Indeed, the Karimov era seems to be ending and a vicious power struggle has begun, involving security agencies and the famous “clans” (whose alignments and realignments constitute the alchemy of politics in all Central Asian societies.)
Karimov belonged to the Samarkand clan, but he skillfully kept an equilibrium. It is unclear which clans are now on the ascendance as his days are ending — Zhizak clan, Tashkent clan and Ferghana clan being the principal ones.

Clan struggle can turn the country into a veritable snake pit. Equally, Uzbek security agency (which is successor to the Soviet-era KGB) is notoriously brutal and it seems to be on the march to grab power. According to a former British ambassador in Tashkent (from around the time I served there in the 1990s), dissidents used to be put into cauldrons of boiling water and women used to be raped with scissors and metal objects.

The Ferghana Valley in Uzbekistan has always been a hotbed of Islamism. That is how the question has lately arisen: How real is the threat posed by the surge of the Islamic State in the Middle East to the Central Asian region? Having said that, it is also impossible to ignore that that the islamist threat to Central Asia is often magnified out of proportion by outside powers with a view to keep the dictators in line.

Of course, the region’s dictators themselves have a vested interest in portraying that they are a bulwark against the rising tide of islamist extremism and thereby integrate into the West’s war on terror. (Read a recent analysis here on the linkages between Central Asia’s militant Islamist groups and their foreign contacts, such as Taliban in Afghanistan.)
Josef Stalin knew that controlling Uzbekistan was vital to keeping Central Asia calm. His devastating solution to Central Asia’s nationality question in the 1920s saw the Uzbek communities ending as minorities in all of Uzbekistan’s 4 neighboring “stans”. (There is also an Uzbek population in the Amu Darya region within Afghanistan.)

Then, there is the great game involving Russia, China and the US. Not only its geographical location but its great wealth of rare minerals would make Uzbekistan a prize catch for the big powers. At the moment, China is ahead of Russia and the US in cultivating Karimov’s favors. The Chinese business interests have thereby profited. Karimov feels extremely comfortable that Beijing is never preachy about democracy, human rights, etc and is preoccupied with advancing trade and investment.
If Uzbekistan descends into anarchy, it will take the entire region down with it. The stakes are so high for Russia and China that some sort of intervention by them — together under the auspices of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization or by Russia alone — to steady the situation in Uzbekistan may become necessary at some point. Russia still wields enormous clout behind the scenes in Tashkent, especially at the level of the security agencies.

But the Americans hold a trump card — “color revolution”. In fact, Uzbekistan is ripe for a color revolution now that it is apparent that the dictator’s days are over.

With the establishment of the US military bases in Afghanistan, there is going to be a very strong American intelligence presence in the region. The US has had dealings with Uzbek dissidents. IN sum, the “infrastructure” is in place for staging a color revolution. To be sure, there will be a concerted US attempt to checkmate any pro-Russia drift on the part of Uzbekistan.

For Russia, on the other hand, a friendly regime in Tashkent might be inclined to steer Uzbekistan back into the fold of the Collective Security Treaty Organization [CSTO] and if luck holds good, Tashkent may even apply for membership of the fledgling Eurasian Economic Union, which is Moscow’s main regional integration vehicle in the “post-Soviet” space.
Kazakhstan is already a member of the EEC, Kyrgyzstan is about to join and Tajikistan is mulling over it, but if Uzbekistan discards its Karimov-era aloofness and instead applies for membership of the CSTO and EEC, it would be a game changer for Moscow in the geopolitics of Eurasia and Moscow would have blocked the US and NATO from projecting power into Russia’s backyard.

And precisely for that reason, the US can be expected to influence the course of events in Uzbekistan in the immediate period ahead. Ideally, the US would like to project the NATO as the provider of security in Central Asia and, therefore, a foothold in Uzbekistan becomes highly desirable. A detailed analysis of the unfolding crisis of the succession struggle in Uzbekistan is available here on a Russian website.

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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby nawabs » 14 Nov 2014 09:13

India, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan form TAPI company

http://www.business-standard.com/articl ... 609_1.html
The company has been floated with equal stakes held by the state-owned gas companies — Turkmengas, Afghan Gas Enterprise, Inter-State Gas Systems and GAIL (India) Ltd — of the four nations.

The 1,800-kilometre TAPI pipeline will export up to 33 billion cubic metres (bcm) of natural gas a year from Turkmenistan to Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India, over 30 years.

Turkmenistan has the world’s fourth-largest proven gas reserves, and the pipeline will allow the land-locked country to diversify its gas export markets to the southeast.

Turkmengas, in turn, will provide a key new source of fuel for southern Afghanistan, Pakistan, and northern India.

The transaction advisor for the project, Manila-based Asian Development Bank (ADB), termed the establishment of the company as a key milestone in its development.

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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby Agnimitra » 07 May 2015 03:41


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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby gunjur » 27 May 2015 19:55

Apologies if already posted on BRF. Two developments.

Dry Run Study of INSTC Trade Route
As per the recommendations of the 5th Coordination Council meeting of the International North -South Transport Corridor (INSTC) held in Baku, Azerbaijan in 2013, a dry-run of the INSTC was successfully conducted by the Federation of Freight Forwarders of India (FFFAI) on the routes;
(i) Nhava Sheva(Mumbai) - Bandar Abbas(Iran)-Tehran-Bandar Anzali(Iran)-Astrakhan(Russia); and
(ii) Nhava Sheva(Mumba)-Bandar Abbas(Iran)-Baku(Azerbaijan).
The objective of dry run study was to identify the bottleneck/missing links in the INSTC route.

Some of the deficiencies identified by the dry run are irregular shipping services from India to Iran, lack of insurance coverage for Bill of Lading, Non Vessel Owner Container Carrier (NVOCC) required etc.

Since INSTC Agreement is a multilateral agreement, the measures to rectify these deficiencies and tentative timeframe decided for operationalizing the INSTC require discussion with the concerned stakeholders.


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Landlocked Central Asia gets shorter railway link to Persian Gulf
Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Iran inaugurated a new railway route that will improve resource-rich Central Asia's access to markets in the Middle East and South Asia.

The 925-km (578-mile) stretch of railway, built jointly by the three Caspian neighbours, will ease the exchange of goods between the landlocked post-Soviet region and the countries lying along the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf.

It will also accelerate shipments of goods between the Persian Gulf and South Asia on the one hand and Russia and Europe on the other.

"These are just our first steps," Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told a ceremony in Turkmenistan which marked the end of the building of the final Turkmen-Iranian link of the new route, stretching from Uzen in western Kazakhstan to Gorgan in Iran.

"This (link) will cut trade costs and make trade more efficient."

Rouhani, accompanied by his Kazakh counterpart Nursultan Nazarbayev and Turkmenistan's Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, symbolically bolted up the railway's final link with wrenches.

The initial carrying capacity of the new railway route of 5 million tonnes of cargo a year is set to rise to 20 million tonnes annually in 2020.

"I am confident that this new route will create new geopolitical and new geoeconomic opportunities for the region's development, as well as for our nations," Berdymukhamedov said.

Turkmenistan, holder of the world's fourth-largest reserves of natural gas, hopes to ship textiles and products of its nascent gas processing industry along the new route, consistent with its strategy of economic diversification.

Oil-rich Kazakhstan, Central Asia's largest economy and grain producer, plans to boost exports of wheat to Iran and other markets of the region.

The construction of this railway link, whose cost is not disclosed, was started in 2009. A source with knowledge of the matter, who asked not be identified, estimated the cost of the construction at $2 billion.

The Asian Development Bank and the Islamic Development Bank helped to finance the project.

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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby A_Gupta » 29 May 2015 22:10

"PM Narendra Modi to visit 5 central Asian nations after Brics summit".
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/new ... 464239.cms
Narendra Modi is planning a trip to five Central Asian countries in July, with an eye on tapping huge natural resources including hydrocarbon and uranium. Modi plans to spend a day each in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan, diplomatic sources indicated. The trip is being clubbed with Modi's maiden visit to Russia for the Brics summit in Ufa on July 8 and 9, sources hinted. Modi is also expected to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in the same ci ..

Read more at:
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/art ... aign=cppst

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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby Arjun » 29 May 2015 22:20

New Silk Road could alter global economics

India should concentrate on IOR which is anyway experiencing higher growth, as Indian-dominated territory. Simultaneously build its own channel to Europe via Iran, Azerbaijan and Russia.

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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby Tuvaluan » 29 May 2015 22:24

http://news.tj/en/news/asia-plus-site-and-number-other-news-sites-inaccessible-tajikistan-0

Several websites blocked and ISIS listed as terrorist group in Tajikistan

According to him, reports about the Tajik OMON (special police unit) commander who joined Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants in Syria could be behind the order.

Radio Liberty’s Tajik Service reported yesterday that officials at the state communications service agency said they have nothing to do with the Internet blockage.

We will recall that in a video posted on YouTube on May 27, the Tajik OMON commander Gulmurod Halimov said he had joined the ISIL group in protest at official restrictions on religious observance in Tajikistan.

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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby Tuvaluan » 29 May 2015 22:25

http://news.tj/en/news/new-program-cooperation-between-mfas-tajikistan-and-india-signed-new-delhi

The Program of Cooperation between the Foreign Ministries of Tajikistan and India reportedly envisages regular and structured consultations on a range of bilateral issues, including consular matters, training of Tajik diplomatic personnel in India and enhanced information and media exchanges, as well as regional and multilateral issues.

With a view to facilitate greater trade and investment between India and Tajikistan, the two Ministers agreed to work towards enhanced connectivity between the two countries including through the International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC) and other regional transit arrangements, the statement says, noting that External Affairs Minister reiterated India’s commitment to cooperate closely with Tajikistan in the field of security and counter-terrorism to ensure greater regional stability.

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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby vijaykarthik » 30 Jun 2015 07:46

http://www.forbes.com/sites/danielrunde ... ne-road/2/

Kazakhstan has quietly assembled a recent track record of economic success. Between 2000 and 2013, the poverty rate declined dramatically from 47 percent to 3 percent. In 2013, GDP growth of 6% led to a per capita GDP of $13,000. In education, near universal primary school enrollment, mandatory and free secondary education, and high adult literacy and gender equality led Kazakhstan to rank 1st in UNESCO’s education development index in 2011. Health is a current priority, as is banking sector reform and economic diversification to reduce the dependence on oil exports, but overall Kazakhstan has enjoyed stability and economic growth. Prospects are high, and everyone but the U.S., it seems, has taken notice.

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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby Singha » 30 Jun 2015 08:32

isnt it ruled by a soviet era strongman nursultan nazarbayev? the US would rather depose such pragmatic and secular pro-russic/sinic strongmen and put some sunni arab gang in charge to ravage its resources, oppress its people and bring 'peace, love, democracy and the Cross' to central asia.

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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby vijaykarthik » 30 Jun 2015 14:50

Yes. Its Nazarbayev. They also moved capital from Almaty to Astana earlier to be closer to Russia. Its also part of the ECU though he was a bit shocked with the way the Ruskies moved in to Crimea and that drama ensued. All the same, he is more of a Russophile than a Sinophile. Only drawback is that there is no clear heir and he is getting older.

Modi should be going to the these places sometime next month. We might hear more about these places in a few weeks

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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby SSridhar » 01 Jul 2015 11:35

TAPI also on the agenda - Smriti Kak Ramachandran, The Hindu
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the five Central Asian countries — Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan — in July is expected to give an impetus to various energy and mining projects including the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) natural gas pipeline.

The multi-billion dollar TAPI project could be off to a year-end start, as the legal framework is expected to be in place by September followed by the announcement of the consortium. TAPI will also be on the agenda for talks when Prime Minister Modi arrives in Turkmenistan.

On Monday, Turkmenistan ambassador Parakhat H. Durdyev said developments on the 1,078-mile pipeline that will transport gas from Avaza to India will be announced shortly.

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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby SSridhar » 01 Jul 2015 11:37


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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby SSridhar » 01 Jul 2015 13:39

Energy cooperation high on Modi agenda - Suhasini Haidar, The Hindu
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s discussions with the Central Asian leaders during his week-long visit next week are also significant for national security strategy, say sources, as the countries border or are neighbours with Afghanistan, where India is watching the post-pullout security situation closely.

Energy cooperation including gas, oil and uranium, defence training and exercises, as well as trade transit through the newly opened avenues via Iran will also be high on the agenda as Mr. Modi visits the region.

At present the five Central Asian republics account for trade of only about $1.6 billion with India, compared to about $50 billion with China that has made them a key to its Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB) initiative.

Mr. Modi will fly to Tashkent on July 6, spending one day in Uzbekistan, then Kazakhstan before heading to Ufa, where he will also meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping, and could meet with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who will attend the SCO summit. Mr. Modi will then continue his Central Asian sojourn, going on to Turkmenistan, Kyrgyztan and Tajikistan.

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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby SSridhar » 01 Jul 2015 13:54

Modi’s Central Asia visit will focus on fighting Islamic State menace - Shhasini Haidar, The Hindu
Countering the spread of Islamic State (IS) terror will be a key part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s eight-day visit to five Central Asian states — Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan — next week (July 6-13), as those states gear up to battle the Islamic State’s rising influence. Mr Modi will also travel to the Russian city of Ufa to attend the BRICS and SCO summits affording him two opportunities to meet the Central Asian leaders and discuss counter-terrorism cooperation, sources told The Hindu .

The Prime Minister will discuss counter-terror technology, training forces and also countering radicalism. Significantly, the government had also appointed former IB chief Asif Ibrahim as a special envoy recently, with a mandate to discuss the spread of IS and terrorism, and liaise with governments abroad on the issue.

The countries in the Central Asian region, all of whom have sizeable Muslim majority populations have been particularly worried recently about the growing numbers of their youth attracted to the IS terror group. In particular the announcement this week of Colonel Gulmurod Khalimov, commander of Tajikistan’s Interior Ministry Special Forces, joining the IS forces in Syria has sent shockwaves through these states that are known for practising a moderate, multi-ethnic version of Islam. In IS recruitment videos, Kazakh fighters have featured prominently, and both Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan’s intelligence agencies have claimed to have thwarted IS plots in their countries in the past few months. India has also been supportive of the efforts in these countries to curb radicalism.

In June, the U.S. State Department’s report on terrorism criticised many of the Central Asian countries for a crackdown on extremism, including Tajikistan for “prohibiting children under 18 from attending mosques”, and accused Turkmenistan’s government of “viewing conservative Islam with suspicion and exercising strict controls over the population.” {The US is really playing with fire}

The Hijab has also been banned in many of these states, while men are discouraged from wearing long beards. “Given India’s efforts to counter Islamic radicalism, these Central Asian states, are natural allies,” an Indian official said.

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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby ramana » 07 Jul 2015 08:18

Modi is visiting Central Asia from July 6 thru13. Please post reports here.

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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby vijaykarthik » 09 Jul 2015 11:47

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s eight-day visit to the five Central Asian States — Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan — is taking place at the most opportune juncture, for Mr. Modi has indicated that he proposes to focus on the radical Islamist threat to the region. Given the kind of extremist winds sweeping across the region, the Muslim populations of these states face uncertain times. States such as Tajikistan are especially vulnerable, as many from the ranks of their security agencies are beginning to join the Islamic State (IS).

The threats that these states face from radical Islamist elements are, indeed, real. At the same time, it is also significant that the leadership of these Central Asian States should look to India to provide them with answers on how to insulate their Muslim populations from these kinds of threats. India’s success, to date, in insulating its own Muslim population from such radicalism has gained wide acceptance, even as the so-called ‘counter radicalisation’ programmes followed in the West are proving to be a failure.

Showcasing strengths

This should prove to be an excellent opportunity for India to showcase its strengths, while extending a hand of friendship to a bloc of countries that have consistently sided with it over the years. India also needs as many allies as possible at this time, to ward off the potential challenge posed by the widening embrace of radical Islam. As it is, Afghanistan, a country in which India had invested heavily for an entire decade (employing the ‘soft power’ of developmental assistance), is on the verge of falling into the Taliban-IS net.

Pakistan already poses many problems for India. The latest danger, however, is that it demonstrates an intrinsic inability to withstand the forces of radical Islam. Coming on top of a pronounced state weakness to take appropriate decisions even where it confronts problems of a grave magnitude, Pakistan cannot be expected to act as a buffer when it comes to checking an irredentist challenge from West Asia. Meanwhile, Pakistan continues to engage in ‘perilous risk taking’, and a ‘Don Quixotic type tilt’ at imaginary windmills (India), instead of taking precautions not to be consumed by the ever-widening sectarian fire.

As Mr. Modi travels through Central Asia, he also needs to think about what is taking place further to the West. West Asia is passing through one of the most turbulent phases in its history, and it needs to figure far more prominently in India’s foreign policy priorities. Reflection would reveal that there is a grave challenge to India of a new and specific kind from this region. India is, however, clearly out of the loop as far as developments there are concerned.

This is a region with which India has always had the closest of relations. Today, however, India is increasingly seen as a bystander, or worse, an outsider. If Mr. Modi is serious in playing a messianic role, then he should immediately take steps to try and resurrect our relations with West Asia. The current turmoil in West Asia impacts India in various ways. First, the post-Arab Spring fracturing of West Asian States into ethnic and sectarian fiefs has geo-political and geo-strategic implications. Second, India is marginalised from a region from which it obtains 70 per cent of its oil — this has economic implications. Third, the region is home to around 7 million Indians, and the region’s Foreign Exchange remittances add substantially to India’s Foreign Exchange Reserves. Also, less apparent, but possibly more critical, is that as a country with one of the largest Muslim population in the world, India cannot be oblivious to the fact that it could be infected by the same virus sweeping across West Asia, if radical extremist fires are not doused soon.

As religious wars destroy Syria and Iraq, Libya gets increasingly drawn into the vortex of the IS, chaos takes place in Yemen, and epic struggles take place between Shiite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia, India must not remain on the sidelines, as it has been a factor in the politics and history of countries in West Asia for a long time. With many states currently having to deal with a new uber-Wahhabi model of Islam, and with the IS and the latest al-Qaeda offshoots seeking to redraw the contours of West Asia by replacing history with sectarian geography, India must act for its own security and stability.

The international community must conceive of new paradigms of thought and action, and India should play its appointed role in this endeavour. The persistent bombing by the U.S. and allied forces on IS hideouts has proved to be of little avail. The world may be a better place with the killing of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula leader Nasser-al-Wuhayshi, and militant Mokhtar Belmokhtar, but their replacements have already been announced and the ‘struggle’ goes on unchecked. The number of recruits to terrorist outfits has only increased.

Not only is the IS growing rapidly, but its success has also spawned many new al-Qaeda proxies who flaunt different labels. Across West Asia, wars are being fought not only between state armies and non-state outfits like the IS, but increasingly between non-state militias, each backed by various countries such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the Gulf states.

This shows that the situation is deteriorating dangerously. Bigotry has led to genocide on a fairly extensive scale, with emphasis being on the elimination of religious minorities. This, in turn, is breeding a violent and totalitarian culture, as seen in the past weeks’ events where, following an IS directive, jihadis carried out attacks in Tunisia (on foreign tourists), Kuwait (against Shia Muslims) and France. The IS has also attacked several military check points in Egypt’s North Sinai killing 70 people, possibly one of the biggest militant attacks in Egypt’s modern history.

Instability in West Asia adversely affects India. With the number of militant outfits growing rapidly and a steady increase in the number of recruits to their ranks, all inspired by a belief in reviving Islam’s ‘pristine glory’, India must not live in the hope that Muslims in the country will not fall a victim to such inducements. The West has failed to put out the religious fires burning in West Asia. India previously had an image in West Asia, which was unrivalled by any other power. An attempt should be made to revive this spirit. Mr. Modi must use all the levers available to nurture peace in West Asia — using India’s moral strength, spiritual influence and its current position in the comity of world nations.

(M.K. Narayanan is former national security adviser and former Governor of West Bengal.)

India’s success in insulating its Muslim population from radicalism has gained wide acceptance, even as the so-called ‘counter radicalisation’ programmes followed in the West are failing

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp ... 396799.ece

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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby ldev » 09 Jul 2015 15:38

For India the key to Central Asia lies with POK. India has to open up a direct route to Central Asia through POK, Afghanistan to Tajikistan and beyond. That is the only way that oil and gas pipelines can carry Russian crude directly to India. India's energy security is at stake

The Chinese are building their own access routes to Gwadar and the Arabian Sea via what is territory disputed by India. India has to play extreme hardball with the Chinese with the ultimate objective of ensuring that if the Chinese want peaceful access to Gwadar, then India must have peaceful access to Central Asia. That 400km X 400km area straddling J&K, POK, extreme northeast corner of Afghanistan i.e. Badakhshan provnce has to become an area jointly administered by India, China, Pakistan and Afghanistan such that India and China get economic access to their respective transit routes. India has to make it very clear to China that without India getting that quid pro quo, there never will be peaceful Chinese access to Gwadar and their $50 billion investment in the CPEC may well vaporize.

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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby vijaykarthik » 23 Jul 2015 14:45

http://www.newindianexpress.com/columns ... 932891.ece


In 1839, Captain Arthur Connolly of the Sixth Bengal Light Cavalry of the East India Company spelt out his vision of the ‘Great Game’, a term that he had coined, “If the British Government would only play the grand game — help Russia cordially to all that she has a right to expect — shake hands with Persia — get her all possible amends from Oosbegs (Uzbeks) — force the Bokhara Amir to be just to us, the Afghans, and other Oosbeg states, and his own kingdom….” Three years later, he was beheaded by that same Emir of Bukhara; as one of the many victims of the ‘Great Game’ played between Tsarist Russia and Victorian England for supremacy in Central Asia (CA). At stake was India, key to the wealth of British Empire.

Soon after Connolly’s beheading, the British lost interest in this game because they were preoccupied with bigger stakes in Afghanistan and the opium war in China. Tsarist Russia used the opportunity to the maximum and their domination of Central Asia lasted till 1991 when the Soviet Union disintegrated.

Since then, another Great Game has been underway with Russia and China as major players. At one time, after 9/11, it seemed that the US too was aiming to be a decisive factor in Central Asia. It tried hard for a while; using money power, promoting dissent through fancily titled peoples’ revolutions and human rights campaigns. However, it ended up making the Central Asian authoritarian regimes wary of it.

Russia continues to be a major strategic, political and economic partner. In Soviet times, the network of original Central Asian oil and gas pipelines was almost entirely laid in the northern direction towards Russia. So was the case largely with trade flows.

The change came with 9/11 when the world began to acknowledge the region’s strategic importance. The US started wooing the Central Asian states for bases to station its troops and military aircraft. It was successful too because Central Asian states were anxious to loosen the Russian hold over them. But the relationship soured steadily and the US is no longer an ardent suitor. The ‘new’ Great Game is largely a regional affair now.

But let us first list some basic facts. Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan are spread over 4 million sq kilometres. Despite this enormous size, their combined population is just about 60 million people. This agriculturally rich land of vast steppes contains large deposits of mineral resources, many of which remain unexplored. Its oil and gas reserves are conservatively estimated at four per cent each of the total global reserves.

It was this untapped potential that attracted China, and it acted fast. China’s trade with CA states was languishing at $1 billion in 2000. Over the next ten years, it leapt 30 times to reach $30 billion. By 2013, the two-way trade had reached $50 bn and with that China had replaced Russia as Central Asia’s largest trading partner. But China’s aim is not mere exchange of commodities. Rather, it has developed long-term stakes. Most new oil and gas pipelines in Central Asia have been laid in an easterly direction towards China. A major oil pipeline connects Kazakhstan with China, as does a gas pipeline from Turkmenistan that by the end of 2015 will supply 55 billion cubic metres of gas, annually providing 20 per cent of China’s gas needs. It has also acquired stakes in oil and gas fields in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, ensuring the security of supplies over the long term. To make that bond stronger still, it has also obligated them financially by giving major loans of $13 bn to Kazakhstan and $8 bn to Turkmenistan. Insofar as Tajikistan is concerned, 41.3 per cent of its external debt is owed to China, compared with a smaller 16 per cent to the World Bank and 14 per cent to the Asian Development Bank.

Thus far, China’s political importance in Central Asia has remained largely under-reported. The fact is that it has become a significant player in multiple ways. When the fear of terrorism and Islamic extremism first started being talked of in CA states bordering China in the 90s, its response was to set up a security mechanism. This was the raison d’être for the Shanghai Five that graduated in 2001 to the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. It was never intended to replicate NATO, but to serve as a forum for active security related consultations. It has served China’s objective well, but how effective it will be in checking the spread of extremism is moot, especially if the IS activates itself in the region.

Still, China has done significantly well, be it through its new Silk Road initiative or bilateral bonding. Today, its influence in the CA region has grown from being purely trade-related to development finance and emergency lending besides an occasional nudge on governance. It has also settled on its terms all its borders with the neighbouring CA states. It may not be a perfect relationship, and that is rarely the case, but it is comprehensive and considerable. How does India fare in comparison? Well, the short answer is that comparisons are unfair. India’s biggest handicap is the lack of connectivity with CA. In all fairness, India should have had easy access to CA had the POK not been snatched by Pakistan. But given the present circumstance, we stand disadvantaged and the results are obvious.

Our trade hasn’t yet crossed the $1 bn mark. And our connectivity hopes by land are largely dependent on the mood of dispensation in Afghanistan. Still, we haven’t done too badly. Starting from 2002, because that’s when we thought up our grand plan for CA, India has had some notable successes. For the first time all the five CA states were connected by air with Delhi. Our serious moves for taking a share in Kazakh oil fields began to be pursued then. We made a major effort and acquired an air base in Tajikistan. With that India became only the third country in the world, after the US and Russia, to have such a facility in another state. A variety of other defence and economic interests were also mapped out then, including that for the supply of natural uranium, the latest agreement for which was signed during PM Modi’s recent visit to Kazakhstan.

Since connectivity continues to be a handicap, India will have to come up with innovative ways to overcome it and increase its presence to a meaningful level. One way of doing that is to ‘Make in Central Asia.’ For example, Indian firms could set up a fertilizer plant to utilise Turkmen gas in Turkmenistan and a refinery in Kazakhstan near an oil field, overcoming the geographical barrier. But we must move quickly, as the Chinese are way ahead in this new Great Game.


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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby vijaykarthik » 23 Jul 2015 14:49

Looks like Temir Sariyev has asked his cabinet to renounce the 1993 bilateral agreement with the US. Retaliation for US SD support of the jailed journo Askarov [Recently awarded a HR prize?]

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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby JE Menon » 24 Jul 2015 11:10

http://swarajyamag.com/world/indias-cen ... p-of-iran/

Indias central asia moment has dawned with the opening up of iran

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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby Agnimitra » 01 Oct 2015 07:32

X-post from Afghanistan thread:

Taliban focus on northern Kunduz likely related to new international jihadist hotspot on Afghan-Tajik border:

Jihad's New Frontier: Tajikistan

Taliban invasion of Kunduz comes less than a month after jihadis from southern Tajikistan created disturbances in capital Dushanbe.

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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby member_28985 » 02 Oct 2015 05:46

I keep hearing about oppressed people of Gilgit-Baltistan want to be free of Pakistan.
If there is another war initiated by Pakistan, can India free these people and in the process open a land link with Afghanistan , Tajikistan and rest central Asia?

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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby Bhurishrava » 01 Dec 2015 00:33

TAPI pipeline project to begin in December: Turkmenistan

http://www.business-standard.com/articl ... 994_1.html

Kazakhstan Willing to Supply Gas via Proposed TAPI Pipeline to India, FM Says

Kazakh Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov took part in the third Summit of Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF), held Nov. 23 in Tehran, stressing that Kazakhstan is willing to supply up to 3 billion cubic metres of natural gas annually through a proposed pipeline from Turkmenistan to India.

http://astanatimes.com/2015/11/kazakhst ... a-fm-says/

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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby A_Gupta » 12 Dec 2015 19:17

http://www.india.com/news/world/india-t ... ri-779022/
Ashgabat, Dec 12: India today said it will continue to work for the development and stability of Central Asia even as it vowed to work with Turkmenistan to address the challenges of cross-border terrorism, fundamentalism and extremism faced by the resource-rich region.Vice President Hamid Ansari, who arrived here yesterday to attend the ground-breaking ceremony of Turkmenistan- Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline, said the bond between the two nations has grown stronger in the contemporary times.

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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby A_Gupta » 14 Dec 2015 20:17

http://www.mea.gov.in/Speeches-Statemen ... er_13_2015

Address by Vice President at the Groundbreaking Ceremony of the TAPI Gas Pipeline Project in Mary, Turkmenistan (December 13, 2015)

Address by Vice President at the Groundbreaking Ceremony of the TAPI Gas Pipeline Project in Mary, Turkmenistan (December 13, 2015)

December 13, 2015

Your Excellency Mr. Gurbanguly Berdimohamedov, President of Turkmenistan,
Your Excellency Mr Ashraf Ghani, President of Afghanistan,
Your Excellency Mr Nawaz Sharif, Prime Minister of Pakistan,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is an honour for me to represent India today at this historic Ground breaking ceremony for the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project.

This is indeed a momentous occasion. TAPI is much more than a gas pipeline project for our countries. It is a reflection of the common desire of the four member countries to re-connect ourselves. We are seeking to re-claim our shared geography and revitalise an age-old legacy of our mutually enriching interactions. The launch of TAPI also marks the first step towards fulfilling the vision of an economically integrated region stretching from the Bay of Bengal to the Caspian Sea.

The fact that we are doing so in the historic Silk Road city of Mary (Merv) is entirely appropriate. It was here, centuries ago, that caravans carrying goods paused to refresh themselves and thereby bestow on generations to come a colourful tapestry of mutually beneficial exchanges. It was here that our ideas and imaginations, spirituality and song, art and architecture met and mingled, and a shared history was written.

In committing ourselves to a shared future and to a vision of common prosperity, we are moving beyond an alien script written in the ink of imperialism that has prevented us from realising the fullest potential of our people and the region so far. TAPI reflects our strong desire to put this chapter behind us and stride confidently into the future.

So today, we return to Mary, to write another chapter in our voyage through history. Indeed, the idea of an economically integrated South and Central Asia is an idea whose time has come.

President Berdimuhamedov,

I fondly recall my visit to Turkmenistan in 2008 and our discussions on India's participation in the gas pipeline project. I thank you for your untiring leadership and the strength of your commitment towards TAPI. It is largely due to your efforts that we are now in a position to commence implementation of this project. I am confident that we can rely on your continued support in the days ahead. Your role has been and will be central to the success of TAPI.

I also wish to thank President Ghani and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for their active involvement. Your strong support for TAPI reflects your interest in securing the economic future of the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan respectively. Your personal commitment to the success of our common venture augurs well for the entire region and for the people of all our countries.

I would also like to place on record my appreciation for our Ministers and officials who have worked hard to move the project forward. India’s young and dynamic Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Mr Dharmendra Pradhan, who is with us today, represents a new generation of India’s political leadership that is working hard to build a prosperous future for the country.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Even as we celebrate the progress we have made on TAPI so far, we must be aware of the challenges that lie ahead. We must work together with resolve to ensure that negative forces inimical to the success of the project are addressed in an appropriate manner. In doing so, we must recognise that the forces of violence and disruption can no longer be allowed to threaten the quest for economic development and security of our people. I am confident that with the active engagement of all four governments, and the support of our international partners, we can overcome such challenges.

We also need to work together to ensure the technical and commercial viability of the project in its broadest sense. The international marketplace for energy works on complex principles. Often these are difficult to fathom. However, given the widespread poverty that exists in our countries, it is essential to ensure that we can make energy available at the least possible cost to the largest sections of our people.

Energy is a strategic commodity for us in our quest to provide a better future to our citizens. Any uncertainty or disruption in supply will impact not only the prospects of economic growth but also our human development objectives.

I wish to assure you that India will take a constructive and cooperative approach towards addressing issues related to the TAPI project. We are confident that all issues can be addressed through a spirit of mutual accommodation and sharing of costs and benefits.

Friends,

India’s association with the TAPI project goes back almost a decade. It began as an Observer country at the 9th Steering Committee Meeting in 2006. In April 2008, India was formally admitted as a member of the Project. This was just days after my visit to Turkmenistan and my talks with President Berdimohamedov. Since then, India has been actively participating in all the meetings and has been an active votary of the project.

Recently, during the visit of Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi to Turkmenistan in July 2015, both India and Turkmenistan had reaffirmed strong commitment towards timely implementation of this strategic project for the common benefit of people of the four countries.

Excellencies,

We are here today as partners in a new journey of hope and progress. We cannot limit our aspirations by the narrow views of a few misguided elements or afford to live in the shadow of global power equations. We must seize opportunities as they arise and lay the foundations of shared progress. TAPI is a manifestation of such an historic opportunity. I am confident that if we work on the basis of a common vision and shared prosperity, we will be successful in realising a path-breaking project that will be of immense benefit to our future generations.

Thank you.

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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby Vipul » 24 Mar 2016 02:36

Ashgabat Agreement gets Cabinet nod.

The Cabinet on Wednesday has approved a proposal to accede to the Ashgabat Agreement, a move that will further strengthen trade ties between India and the Eurasian region.The decision paves the way for an international transport and transit corridor facilitating transportation of goods between Central Asia and the Persian Gulf.

“The Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has given its approval for India to accede to the Ashgabat Agreement,” said Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister of Communications and IT.

Oman, Iran, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are the founding members of the Ashgabat Agreement, and Kazakhstan joined it subsequently.

The decision is a big step towards enabling India to utilise the existing transport and transit corridor to facilitate trade and commercial interaction with the Eurasian region, Prasad said. Further, this would synchronise with India’s efforts to implement the International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC) for enhanced connectivity, he added.

India’s intention to accede to the Ashgabat Agreement would now be conveyed to Turkmenistan, which is the Depository State. India would become party to the Agreement after the consent of the founding members.

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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby ramana » 06 Dec 2016 02:02

[quote=Perigrine"]


2) It is better that India either revokes or withdraws the MFN Status given to Cwapistan and forgets all about Land Access via Cwapistan to Afghanistan and the Central Asian Republics.

The Indian Trade :

Exports by Region X Countries

Exports to CARs in US$ Millions

5.1 CARs Countries……..362.46
1) KAZAKHSTAN………....151.91
2) UZBEKISTAN…………...094.64
3) TURKMENISTAN……...068.53
4) KYRGHYZSTAN……....025.11
5) TAJIKISTAN…………...022.26

Import by Region x Countries

Imports from CARs in US$ Millions

5.1 CARs Countries……456.91

1) KAZAKHSTAN………..352.93
2)TURKMENISTAN……..046.97
3) UZBEKISTAN………...045.26
4) TAJIKISTAN…………..009.98
5) KYRGHYZSTAN……...001.79

The Trade to and from Afghistan, Kazakhstan & Turkmenistan will be most competitive via Chah Bahar.

The Trade to the other three can be forgotten or the Transportation Heavily Subsidized. In my Opinion only Uzbekistan matters and the other two can be ignored.

PLUS POINTS : India does not have to give “Land Access” to Cwapistan to ply Oodles of Trucks or Railway Wagons and Boodles of Terrorists as well as Weapons, Explosives etc. to Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Myanmar. It is not beyond the bounds of Imagination that the Cwapistanis would ask for “Land Access” to Sri Lanka.

So no Land Transit Facilities via Cwapistan for India and No Land Transit via India to Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar and Bangladesh FOR CWAPISTAN. Basta!

REQUEST : Is there any "Proper Way" to use the "TAB Facility" - if it exists.
[/quote]

Can we have a breakdown of the Indian trade with each of these countries?

Does MEA have a site?

Vips
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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby Vips » 27 Mar 2018 23:31

Uzbekistan seeks to be India’s all-weather ally in Central Asia.

Double-landlocked Uzbekistan with centuries-old bonds with India is keen to play a key role in New Delhi’s connectivity initiatives in resource-rich and strategically important Central Asia where China’s activities have further been bolstered by its Belt and Road Initiative.

India, which doesn’t have direct connectivity to the region, is making steady progress to create a link. One of the vital steps in this direction was it accession to the Agreement on the Establishment of an of an International Transport and Transit Corridor between Iran, Oman, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan (Ashgabat Agreement) last month, ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s trip to Oman and the India visit of the Iranian President.

Uzbekistan played a key role in getting New Delhi into the Ashgabat Agreement that would complement India’s maritime link with Oman via the Duqm Port (the MoU was signed during Modi's trip to Muscat), role in the Chabahar Port and the proposed International North South Transportation Corridor (INSTC) via Iran’s Bandar Abbas Port, senior Uzbek officials told ET.

"It is a win-win situation for both countries. While Uzbekistan would assist India in its endeavours for smooth connectivity to the region, India could be Uzbekistan's gateway to seas," said an expert who did not wish to be named. Absence of smooth connectivity is not allowing export of Uzbek uranium to power India's nuclear plants . For Indian businesses, Uzbekistan offers new opportunities to invest.

Though Uzbekistan is still not party to INSTC, it is party to the Ashgabat Agreement, which seeks to provide a transport and transit corridor from Central Asia to the Persian Gulf. Uzbekistan is also a part of multilateral treaty Transport Internationaux Routiers or International Road Transport Convention (TIR).

Uzbekistan has a stake in the political and economic developments of Afghanistan, its southern neighbour. Uzbekistan has built a rail-road from Termez on the Uzbek-Afghan border to Mazar-e-Sharif in Afghanistan. Once the segment from Mazar-e-Sharif to Herat and Herat to Iran is completed, this will provide a route for Uzbek as well as Afghan exports. India can also connect with this initiative for wider access to landlocked Afghanistan.

India’s participation in the development of the Chabahar Port will complement the rail-road construction programme that Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Iran have undertaken. The port will provide an outlet to the Arabian sea. “With India being in the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organisation), now points of convergence between India and Uzbekistan will surely multiply,” a senior Uzbek official said.

India was acceded to the Ashgabat Agreement with effect from February 3, 2018. The agreement envisages facilitation of transit and transportation of goods between Central Asia and the Persian Gulf. Accession to the agreement would diversify India’s connectivity options with Central Asia and have a positive influence on India’s trade and commercial ties with the region, experts said. Being part of the agreement is expected to help India's future accession to the Eurasian Economic Union.

Vivasvat
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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby Vivasvat » 17 May 2018 07:20


chanakyaa
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Re: Central Asia - News & Discussions

Postby chanakyaa » 13 Aug 2018 07:24

Russia, Iran and other states agree on Caspian Sea access
The five countries bordering the inland sea have been at odds over the waterway since the fall of the Soviet Union. The deal could pave the way for the development of valuable oil and gas projects.


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