India and the CIS states.

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by A.V., Feb 28, 2009.

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    The Central Asian region assumed heightened strategic significance for India when the implosion of the Soviet Union in 1991 resulted in the unexpected creation of five independent states – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan – in an area to the northwest of India, between China to the east and Iran to the west. India’s official contacts with political leaders in this region had heretofore been refracted through its cordial relationship with the USSR. The new situation called for a major rethinking of India’s conceptualization of and approach toward the region. However, accustomed over a period of decades to see Moscow as the arbiter of policy in all of the USSR, India was slow to grasp the significance of the strategic, geopolitical, and economic shifts in the former Soviet space. Far from using the Soviet collapse as a springboard for developing new relationships with the states of Central Asia in acknowledgement of new realities and in recognition of the need to develop new priorities, India chose to focus on recasting New Delhi’s relationship with the new Russia. India’s leaders thus lost an early opportunity to shape the Central Asian agenda in its own terms. This omission was especially short-sighted in view of the fact that, as a consequence of its close ties with Moscow, India had maintained a consulate in Tashkent since 1987, had air links between New Delhi and Tashkent, had hosted many students from Soviet Central Asia at Indian universities, and in turn had sent many Indians to study in Central Asian universities. India therefore had a strong potential resource among its population and that of Central Asia whose mutual knowledge, expertise, and good will could have been utilized to India’s advantage in building mutually beneficial ties. Preoccupied with managing the Indian-Russian relationship, India initially overlooked its Central Asian neighbors. A prime indicator of this neglect was that while Uzbek President Islam Karimov chose to visit India in late 1991 – his first visit to a country outside the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) – and Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev visited New Delhi in February 1992, followed by President Askar Akayev’s visit in March 1992, it was not until May 1993 that India’s Prime Minister visited Uzbekistan. In their visits to India, the Central Asian presidents had lauded India’s secular political model, eschewed Islamic fundamentalism, and expressed the desire for strong ties with India. Indian leaders were slow to capitalize on these advantages. Serious reengagement efforts with countries in the region began in earnest only in the early 2000s and had picked up pace by the middle of the decade. India, however, is competing with China and the United States, which were drawn in early by the promise of energy resources and the challenge of terrorism and religious radicalism. Both countries are deeply entrenched in Central Asia, where the Russian imprint by virtue of its historical legacy also continued to be strong. As a late entrant to the geo-economic and geopolitical dynamics of Central Asia, India has attempted to make up for its earlier missteps. In the words of Tahir Ashgar, an Indian scholar of Central Asia, “We didn’t miss the bus as we did not go the bus stop in the first place. It is time to make up for lost opportunities. . . . We need to have a more comprehensive policy in Central Asia to extract maximum advantage.”
     
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    In view of the increased importance and urgency attached by India’s leaders to the development of strong ties with countries of Central Asia along the energy and security vectors, this paper will examine the challenges and opportunities in the realization of this vision, and project its future trajectory in a period where this region is likely to become the scene either of intensive rivalries or unprecedented partnerships hinging on the approaches adopted by major powers toward each other as they shape and implement relationships with countries in Central Asia. The paper is divided into three sections. The first section will address India’s objectives in Central Asia in the context of its overall world view and self-image as a major Asian power, and assess how its vision engages or clashes with the visions of China, Russia, and the United States. The second section will examine the current state of relations between India and each of the countries of Central Asia, and explore the obstacles behind the wide gap that exists between India’s expectations and the reality. The third section will analyze the impact of a multitude of complex triangular relationships on India’s challenges and opportunities in the Central Asian region. The paper’s conclusion argues that India’s Central Asia policy needs to be cast into an integrative framework that simultaneously factors into its calculations the ways in which the geographies of energy, religion, and ethnic and tribal divisions are superimposed upon de facto political boundaries that define states and regions. The success of India’s Central Asia policy can be divorced neither from the success of its South Asia policy nor from its skillful management of a host of triangular relationships among China-Pakistan-India, China-India-United States, United States-Pakistan India, Russia-China-India, and India-Russia-United States. The Place of Central Asia in India’s Asian Vision Indian leaders have articulated a bold strategic vision designed to catapult the country into the status of a major power in the 21 st century. Emerging from the chrysalis of its Cold War geopolitical confinement in the South Asian region, India has actively sought to engage purposefully with major powers and emerging power centers, as well as with countries in its immediate and extended neighborhoods. The import and significance of Indian Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran’s November 2006 speech in China at the Shanghai Institute of International Studies is worth noting. Asserting that India’s destiny is interlinked with that of Asia, Saran assertively underscored the premises underlying this new vision: Geography imparts a unique position to India in the geopolitics of the Asian continent, with our footprint reaching well beyond South Asia and our interests straddling across different sub-categories of Asia – be it East Asia, West Asia, Central Asia, South Asia, or South East Asia. To those who harbor any skepticism about this fact, it would suffice to remind that we share one of the longest borders in the world with China, that Central Asia verges on our northern frontiers, that we have maritime borders with three South East Asian countries, that our Andaman and Nicobar Islands are just over a hundred kilometers from Indonesia, and that our exclusive economic zone spans the waters from the Persian Gulf to the Straits of Malacca. 2 Saran challenged his listeners to join India in the creation of a “neighborhood of peace and prosperity in which people, goods, services, and ideas” could traverse freely across borders and which would be anchored in a cooperative Asian security architecture and an Asian economic community.
     
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    The transformation in language from borders as demarcations of lines of conflict to borders as “connectors” marks a major shift in the Indian worldview in the post-Cold War period. 4 At the Dhaka Summit of the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) held in Bangladesh in November 2005, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stated in relation to
    Pakistan, “I do not have the mandate to change borders; but I do have the mandate to make those borders irrelevant over a period of time.” 5 The success of this cooperative worldview rests heavily on whether India’s neighbors, particularly Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Asia’s other giant, China, are willing to buy into this vision. As Saran acknowledged, “It will not happen overnight because . . . part of the problem is our own mindset, whether we are able to change the way we think, the way we look at our borders, the way we look at our neighbors. But equally there is a problem of mindset on the part of our neighbors. There has to be a certain confluence in terms of these perceptions before we can really move ahead.” 6 Of China, Saran noted that as two continent-sized economies and polities, neither India nor China could meaningfully “contain each other or be contained by any other country.” 7 How then does Central Asia fit into India’s Asian vision? Viewing the concept of neighborhood in terms of widening concentric circles, Indian leaders see the Central Asian countries as part of India’s extended neighborhood and an area in which its economic and security interests and those of Central Asian governments are inextricably linked. Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee placed the nurturing of a web of cooperative energy security networks in Central Asia as a primary goal of Indian foreign policy. He also noted the close connection between energy security and threats from terrorism, arguing that challenges to Indian security have traditionally come overland from the northwest. 8 Thus, India has a common interest with Central Asian governments in stymieing the negative spillover effects of Islamic fundamentalism from Pakistan and Afghanistan into Central Asia and preventing the region from becoming a conduit for radical religious ideologies with the potential to destabilize the border regions of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, China, and India. India’s goals in this region, according to Mukherjee, are “premised on the commerce of ideas and goods.” 9 India’s leaders have repeated this refrain in multilateral forums as well. In a statement to the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) meeting in Shanghai in June 2005, the leader of the Indian delegation Murli Deora committed India’s support for the SCO’s commitment against extremism, fundamentalism, and terrorism, and called for cooperative efforts to foster greater intra-SCO trade facilitated by the development of banking and financial services and transportation networks and transit linkages. He offered to share India’s unique development experience and argued that widespread economic growth, development, and prosperity was the sine qua non of peace and stability in the region. Finally, he called on the SCO as an organization that brought together major producers and consumers of energy in the world to cooperate in the area of energy security. 10 The choice of Murli Deora, India’s Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas, as delegate to the Shanghai meeting of the SCO clearly signaled India’s interest in becoming a player in the energy area in Central Asia. To ensure that India’s voice is heard on this issue, Murli Deora’s ministry joined forces with Indian Oil and Natural Gas Corporation to organize the 7 th International Oil and Gas Conference and Exhibition – Petrotech 2007 – in New Delhi in January. Bringing together petroleum ministries from OPEC and other energy producing countries with scientists, managers, and traders, this conclave provided a “global platform to all stakeholders for interaction and sharing of knowledge and experience” in energy issues. In his inaugural address, Pranab Mukherjee emphasized that the goal of energy security was the “prime objective” of India’s policies. The liberal premise that a broad-based and integrated cooperative Asian security and economic community will best be able to deliver on the promise of peace, stability
     
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    and prosperity while simultaneously accommodating the overlapping global aspirations for status and power of India and China has to be assessed against the worldviews not only of China but also Russia and the United States – the other major players in Asia. Of these players, India’s ambitions potentially clash most directly with those of China. The same holds true for the United States and Russia for whom China’s aspirations represent a more direct challenge to their respective global visions than do India’s. Chinese leaders have embarked on an ambitious goal of transforming the country into a major global power and as a first step in that direction, to make China a preeminent power in Asia. This transformation began with the ascendance of Deng Xiaoping, who replaced China’s ideologically-determined foreign policy with a hard-nosed pragmatism that focused on developing China’s economic power as the foundation for its future aspirations for global influence. Since the 1990s, China has used the promise of trade to soften its profile in Asia and erase erstwhile perceptions of the Chinese threat that had their origins in the Chinese role in the 1950 Korean War, China’s efforts at fomenting communist insurgencies in Southeast Asia throughout the decades of the 1960s and 1970s, and its 1979 war against Vietnam. Embracing the multilateralism that it had earlier rejected, China has sought to demonstrate that it is a responsible power and has characterized the growth in its power as a “peaceful rise” that does not threaten any country. 11 The extent to which trade policy is effected to promote a strategic calculus is evident in this observation by a European scholar on China: “Contrary to the trade imbalance China has with the European Union and the United States, China generally either buys more from other Asian nations than it sells or the trade is more or less balanced. This is intentional policy on behalf of Beijing. China wants to keep its neighbors happy.” 12 China’s Central Asia policy is being fashioned under the ambit of its larger Asian policy. As in India, Central Asia is accorded high priority in China’s strategic calculus for economic and security reasons. China’s western border abuts Central Asia. The Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR), whose restive Muslim population represents a source of concern, is geographically contiguous with Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization was initially set up in 1996 under Chinese leadership as the Shanghai Five to resolve boundary disputes between China and the four ex-Soviet states sharing borders with China. The SCO’s agenda expanded to deal with common threats to security from Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism, and to work toward economic cooperation. The original cast of members (Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan) was widened to include Uzbekistan in 2001. In 2005, India, Pakistan, Iran, and Mongolia joined as observers in the SCO. China’s approach toward Central Asia is part and parcel of the strategy it has pursued vis-à-vis the rest of Asia. The Chinese have termed it as the “Shanghai spirit” characterized by “mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, and coordination.” 13 In pursuit of their goals, Chinese leaders have established trade missions in all Central Asian countries, have invested in transportation and infrastructure projects, and have aggressively pursued energy deals with countries in the region. While both China and India have favored economic diplomacy in preference to coercive diplomacy in their relations with Central Asian countries, the logic of competition and conflict may override the logic of cooperation in Sino-Indian relations as each country pursues similar goals in the region, and as China has edged India out in the game for presence and influence and bidding for energy contracts in Central Asia and in Asia at large
     
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    However, China’s successes are not cost-free either in economic or strategic terms. Economically, Indian competitive bidding against China on acquiring energy assets has often resulted in Chinese overpayment for those assets as happened, in the view of energy analysts, with the China National Petroleum Corporation’s $4.18 billion acquisition of the Canadian Oil Company Petro Kazakhstan against an Indian bid of $3.9 billion. 14 Strategically, even as China seeks preeminence in Asia as a precursor to its rise as a global power on par with the United States in the future, the United States seeks to limit Chinese influence in Asia in order to uphold and maintain U.S. primacy at the global level. Russia meanwhile has sought to work with China against an encroaching American presence in Eurasia and Central Asia, with the reassertion of Russian influence in both regions as its primary objective. In this complex set of interactions, all major powers have continued to engage each other economically while pursuing their common and competing objectives in Central Asia, with resort only to demonstrative shows of force. Whether common objectives will lead to a cooperative security and economic architecture in Asia is largely dependent on whether China is willing to accommodate Indian ambitions in Central Asia and in the larger Asian region; whether Chinese attempts to limit American influence and supplant Russia in Central Asia are managed in such a way as to prevent a direct challenge by these countries to Chinese aspirations; and whether Russia’s policies to reassert its influence in Eurasia and Central Asia leave room for China in Central Asia and the United States in both regions. The ways in which the Central Asian countries position themselves vis-à-vis each of these powers will also play an important role in the unfolding dynamics of Central Asia. Indian Ties with Central Asian Countries In contrast to the grand vision of Indian leaders for a multifaceted cooperative and synergistic economic and security relationship with the countries of Central Asia, the current state of bilateral ties reveals a wide gap between expectations and realities. India has focused primarily on the development of its relations with Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kazakhstan but has also reached out to Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan. Indo-Uzbek Relations Indo-Uzbek ties have a long history reaching back into the 15 th an 16 th centuries A.D. and the warmth in the relationship between the two countries is manifested in the frequency of high level visits by leaders and officials to Tashkent and New Delhi. At the highest level, President Karimov visited India in August 1991, January 1994, May 2000, and April 2005. Indian Prime Ministers have visited Tashkent in May 1993 (P.V. Narasimha Rao) and in April 2006 (Manmohan Singh). India’s External Affairs Ministers have traveled to Tashkent more often—in September 1995 (Salman Khurshid), March 1996 (Pranab Mukherjee), May 1999 (Jaswant Singh), and in November 2003 (Yashwant Sinha). On the Uzbek side, visits at the deputy prime ministerial and foreign ministerial levels have also occurred with regularity. These mutual visits are an indication of the warm political atmospherics that bind the two countries together. Summit meetings in 1991 and 1993 resulted largely in the signing of agreements to cooperate in the scientific-technical, economic, and socio-cultural fields (1991). Additionally in 1993 an Indo-Uzbek Treaty on the Principles of Inter-State Cooperation was signed and the Indian Prime Minister also announced the creation of an ‘India Chair’ at the University of World Economy and Diplomacy in Tashkent
     
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    By the time of President Karimov’s visit in 1994, instruments of ratification of the Indo-Uzbek Treaty were exchanged and an agreement was signed on the opening of an Indian Cultural Centre in Tashkent. Karimov’s 2000 visit yielded an Extradition Treaty. Over these years, India also offered Uzbekistan three credit lines of $10 million each for joint ventures, project exports, and the purchase of capital goods from India. While these early agreements did not make any significant breakthroughs in tangible economic and trade areas, they did play an important role in creating opportunities for people-to-people exchanges. Indo-Uzbek trade, for instance, is paltry, with a bilateral trade turnover in 2004 of $150 million. 15 Pharmaceuticals constitute the largest single item of Indian exports to Uzbekistan, which also include tea, machinery, plastics, and garments. Uzbek exports include machinery, cotton, raw silk, raw wool, non-ferrous metals, and aircraft. However, in the area of cultivating soft power, India made considerable headway since 1991 with the establishment in Tashkent of the Indo-Uzbek Centre for Promotion of Scientific and Technological Cooperation in 1995; the setting up of an ‘India Chair’ at the University of World Economy and Diplomacy in 1996; hosting over a hundred Uzbeks per year since 2002 (the numbers were fewer in earlier years) for training in information technology; working on the establishment of a Centre for Information Technology in Tashkent with funding from the Indian government; and in hosting Uzbek students for study in Indian universities under a scholarship and cultural exchange program under the auspices of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations. Air links between India and Uzbekistan are more frequent than with any other Central Asian state with four weekly flights between Tashkent and Delhi and seven between Amritsar and Tashkent. Indo-Uzbek ties received a major boost in 2005 and 2006 during the visits to New Delhi and Tashkent respectively by President Karimov and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Twelve bilateral agreements were inked in 2005—four of which dealt with cooperation in defense, education, culture and sports, and support of small and private entrepreneurship and the other eight relating to cooperation between economic, cultural, educational institutes of India and Uzbekistan. Afghanistan represented an important area of discussion with both sides agreeing to cooperate in the reconstruction of the country and recognizing the key role of Afghanistan in providing a transportation link between Uzbekistan and India. Both countries noted that the Zaranj-Delaram road being built by India in Afghanistan would be a key segment in the transport corridor linking Mazar-e-Sharif in Uzbekistan through Herat, Dogarun, and Delaram in Afghanistan to the Iranian seaports of Chabar and Bandar-e-Abbas and on to Ahmedabad and Mumbai in India. 16 The military cooperation agreement called for joint military exercises and opportunities for the training of Uzbek officers. In the area of defense industry, the two countries agreed to initiate cooperation between the Indian company Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and the Tashkent aviation plant in the modernization of Ilyushin 76 aircraft. For India, the unequivocal support offered by the Uzbek President for India’s permanent membership in an expanded United Nations Security Council was particularly welcome. During Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s 2006 visit to Tashkent, Uzbekistan provided a major boost to India’s quest for energy security by offering exploration facilities to Indian companies in the hydrocarbon sector with a proposal for an equal share for both countries in the extracts. This offer was initialed in a Memorandum of Understanding between India’s Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Uzbekistan’s Uzbekneftgaz
     
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    Two other Memoranda of Understanding were concluded between the Gas Authority of India, Ltd. and Uzbekneftgaz and between the Coal Ministry of India and Uzbekistan’s State Committee for the exploration of gas and mineral resources. 17 Singh stated that India saw Uzbekistan “as an important element in any effort to optimally utilize the energy resources of Central Asia” and Karimov added that “Uzbekistan, based on its cooperation with a number of countries, . . . is ready to allocate geological territory to Indian companies to explore the resources of gas, oil, and other hydrocarbons.” 18 Indo-Uzbek ties are strong on the people-to-people level and on a gradual upward trajectory in the area of economic and commercial relations. Indo-Kazakh Ties The bilateral trade turnover between India and Kazakhstan was around $79 million in 2003, with Indian exports largely in pharmaceuticals and tea. Kazakhstan’s Minister of Industry and Commerce Adilbek R. Zhaksybekov in 2004 termed the volume of trade between the two countries as “insignificant” and added that his government sought to encourage Indian investment in sectors like telecommunications, electronics, and biotechnology. Addressing Indian investors, Zhaksybekov stated, “The Kazakh government has invested $2 billion towards special funds which investors must make use of. Therefore, if Indian investors decide to invest in the country, they would not have to raise their own funds.” 19 In the energy sector, India was not as quick-footed as were the United States and China in the exploration and development of oil and natural gas in the Caspian Sea continental shelf. 20 In January 2005, the Kazakh government invited India to set up joint ventures in the oil and natural gas sectors. 21 In February 2005 at the Astana meeting of the Indo-Kazakhstan Joint Commission on Economic, Scientific, Industrial, and Cultural Cooperation, India’s Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Mani Shankar Aiyar, expressed India’s interest in promoting participation through India’s Oil and Natural Gas Vidash Ltd. (OVL) in exploration and production in the energy sector in Kazakhstan; in cooperation in the military-technical area; and in information technology. 22 Aiyar’s discussions opened a new phase of cooperation between Kazakhstan and India. OVL opened a regional office in Astana in July 2005 and was to pick one of two exploration blocks (Satpayev and Makhanbet) in the oil-rich Caspian Sea region. A senior Indian official stated, “Both sides realized we have missed some opportunities in the past. It’s time to make up for all that lost time.” 23 India is also exploring the possibilities for investment in the development of pipelines and in the gas sector. 24 By October 2005, Indo-Kazakh cooperation in the energy sector was on a firmer footing. Kazakhstan’s Energy Minister V. Shkolnik noted, We have agreed to have strategic energy cooperation. KazMunaiGaz and OVL will work together in the Caspian Sea.” 25 Kazakhstan is also making a strong bid for the participation of Indian textile majors in developing the Kazakh textile industry in the Special Economic Zone for textiles in Ontustyk.
     
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    India-Tajikistan India and Tajikistan share a common strategic interest in countering security threats issuing from fundamentalism, terrorism, drug trafficking, and organized crime. President Emomali Rakhmanov visited India in 1995, 1999, and 2001, and the Indian Prime Minister visited Dushanbe in November 2003. The primary agreements between the two countries cover cooperation in criminal matters, against drug trafficking, and against terrorism. Trade is almost non-existent, with the total trade turnover in 2006 between the two countries standing at a little over $3 million. Beginning in 2003, Tajik Air started a weekly flight between Dushanbe and Delhi. Tajikistan has played an important role in Indo-Russian military cooperation in Central Asia. India, with Russian agreement, built a runway at a military airport in Dushanbe and a Russian spokesperson stated that India and Russia “will closely cooperate in the military sphere,” adding that Russia does not regard India as a rival and would have nothing against an Indian presence in Central Asia. 26 In 2006, India acquired an overseas military facility in Tajikistan, with the Indian Air Force to deploy a fleet of MiG 29 fighter-bombers at the Aini Air Base, about 7 miles from Dushanbe. Indian defense planners said that the base would provide New Delhi with “a longer strategic reach” in Central Asia. 27 The Aini initiative follows the establishment of an Indian military outpost at Farkhor on the Tajik-Afghan border. The Farkhor base is an extension of a field logistical base that India established in the late 1990s in support of the Northern Alliance’s fight against the Taliban in Afghanistan. This base plays an important part in India’s support of the Karzai government. Indian economic and relief assistance is furnished to Afghanistan from Farkhor, with relief supplies airlifted by the Indian Air Force to Aini, transported to Farkhor, and into Afghanistan by road, since Pakistan does not allow India overland access to Afghanistan. With U.S. support, India has provided training and equipment to the Afghan army, and has aided in the country’s reconstruction. Russia’s interests also converge with those of India in Afghanistan. According to a retired Indian military officer, Arun Sahgal, “Though India remains powerless to engineer or overtly influence the New Game [in Central Asia], its size, military and nuclear capability make it a not altogether insignificant part of the emerging complex jigsaw.” 28 Tajikistan’s importance in the energy area is also not lost on India. At the SCO’s 2005 summit meeting in Astana, President Rakhmanov told Indian External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh that he welcomed India’s investment in his country’s power sector. Rakhmanov is reported to have stated that if an Indian company were to set up a hydroelectric plant in Tajikistan, the electricity that was generated could be transmitted to India through the Wakhan Corridor in Afghanistan and Pakistan. 29 Tajikistan’ hydroelectric power is of great attraction to energy-hungry India. The country is the third largest producer of hydroelectric power, after the U.S. and Russia. As one Indian observer noted: “Since any Central Asian power lines passing through the Wakhan Corridor would likely enter Pakistan in the northern areas of undivided Jammu and Kashmir before moving along to the Indian side of the state, such a project would also help fuel the proposal to make the Line of Control ‘irrelevant’.” 30 India-Turkmenistan India did not establish an embassy in Ashgabat until January 1994, and high-level visits have been few. Turkmen President Separmarat Niyazov visited India in April 1992 and February 1997. India’s Prime Minister P. V. Narasimha Rao visited Turkmenistan in September 1995
     
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    India’s External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh visited Ashgabat in May 1999 and Turkmenistan’s Foreign Minister Boris Shikhmuradov visited India in April 2000. The two countries signed a Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement in September 1995, and in September 1996 an agreement was concluded between the Chambers of Commerce and Industry in both countries to develop economic, commercial, and financial cooperation. The bilateral trade turnover in 2004 was a negligible $33.89 million, with the bulk of Indian exports consisting of pharmaceuticals, machinery, and equipment, and Turkmen exports to India comprising chemicals. By the terms of a memorandum signed in February 2000, Turkmen Airlines operated eight flights weekly to Amritsar/New Delhi and the Indian sectors are very profitable. In the mid-2000s, Turkmenistan emerged as an important factor in India’s search for energy supplies. Weighing these options for the supply of gas to India through Pakistan from Iran, Turkmenistan, and Qatar, India had been seriously considering participation in the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan pipeline with an extension of the pipeline into India. Indian petroleum Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar, on an official visit to Pakistan in June 2005 noted: “I was very encouraged that Prime Minister Shauhat Aziz joined me in expressing a desire to carry forward the discussions initiated here in Islamabad on a gas pipeline running to India to and through Pakistan to India. . . . These linkages, the Prime Minister said, could constitute the basis . . . on which we could build cooperative Pakistan-India relations.” 31 The long-term gas demands from India and Pakistan, according to analysts at the Asian Development Bank, would require both an Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) pipeline and a Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan pipeline (TAP), with the need for a third pipeline from Qatar. 32 In February 2006, India began to give serious thought to joining the U.S.- backed TAP project because of its greater feasibility, since it did not entail the risks of being blacklisted by U.S. and European financial backers as did the IPI project. The proposed natural gas pipeline would carry gas from the Dauletabad field and run from the Turkmenistan/Afghanistan border to Multan, Pakistan over a distance of 790 miles with a 400-mile extension to India with Afghanistan earning transit fees. 33 Indo-Kyrgyz Relations The Kyrgyz Republic opened its resident mission in New Delhi in 1993 and India opened an embassy in Bishkek in 1994. Bilateral trade between India and Kyrgyzstan is around $15 million. While Indian ties with Kyrgyzstan are minimal, Kyrgyzstan’s profile in Indian eyes may increase because of its strong potential in the generation of hydroelectric power. Kyrgyz leaders are also interested in ramping up the engagement of India in their economy. The Kyrgyz Charge d’Affaires in India, Saltan Bek Kadaraliev invited Indian investment in telecommunications, oil and gas, tourism, and railways. He particularly sought collaboration with the Indian information technology industry. 34 In response, India signed a memorandum on mutual understanding in March 2006 to open an Indian-Kyrgyz center for information technologies in Bishkek. India has also worked toward other cooperation projects in agricultural processing, medical research, and technical training. 35 Obstacles and Opportunities India faces two major obstacles to achieving its aspirations for a key role in Central Asia—the lack of transportation corridors and the lack of sufficient resources. The first obstacle is largely political; the second is economic
     
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    In seeking overland access to Central Asia, India has to confront its historically thorny relations with Pakistan and China. India’s transportation corridors to Central Asia would have to run either through Pakistan and Afghanistan to Tajikistan and beyond or through the western reaches of China’s Xinjiang region into Tajikistan or Kyrgyzstan. The thawing of relations with both these countries since 2005 may make for greater headway in providing connectivity between Central and South Asia in the future. However, this is heavily dependent on the development of relations among these three countries. Pakistan’s strategy of denial runs the risk of isolating the country, especially if China were to expand on its heretofore limited cooperative efforts with India in order to prevent the strengthening of the Indo-U.S relationship form reducing its leverage in South Asia. On the other hand, a Pakistani strategy of engagement has the potential to transform the economic landscape of the Central-South Asian region in positive directions. For the latter scenario to come to pass, Pakistan would have to curb the forces of Muslim militancy in the country since apart from the challenge of managing interstate obstacles, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the border regions of India, Tajikistan, and China are volatile and vulnerable to the twin threats of Muslim radicalism and terrorism. In the 1990s, Pakistan’s strategy of fomenting the Kashmiri insurgency in India had received tacit support form China as a way of keeping India hemmed in South Asia. Pakistani sponsorship and support o f the Taliban-led government in Afghanistan was an integral part of a strategy designed to provide Pakistan with strategic depth against India and prevent the possibility of an India-friendly government in that country. With the terrorist attacks in the United States in September 2001, the Taliban-Al Qaeda connection and evidence of Al Qaeda complicity in the attacks, Pakistan’s Afghanistan strategy came unraveled. Compelled to join the war against terrorism in Afghanistan and with China’s support for Pakistan’s abetting of Kashmiri militants in India ebbing, China and Pakistan have attempted to reorient their India strategies, particularly in light of the U.S.-Indian strategic partnership. These developments may provide the space for moving in the direction of economic partnerships that would revitalize the Central-South Asian region. Such cooperative economic efforts may also overcome India’s resource paucity issue by opening the area to multilateral development initiatives. Strategic Triangles and Political Quandaries The concept of a strategic triangle, according to Lowell Dittmer, is a “social science term based upon the logical, quasi-geometrical relationship among political actors in the international arena.” 36 Dittmer specifies three defining criteria for the logic of triangularity to apply to a group of three states: the possible relations among these actors are circumscribed; the bilateral relationship among any two of these actors is contingent on their relationship with the third; and each actor seeks to engage one or the other or both to forestall its defection or hostile collusion and advance its own interests. 37 Taken in this sense, the triangular dynamics among several groups of countries have a direct bearing on the course of India’s relations with the countries of Central Asia
     
  12. A.V.

    A.V. New Member

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    last part contd


    The dynamics of the Sino-Indian-Pakistani triangle explain the role of Pakistan in China’s attempt to prevent India’s emergence as a major power to challenge Chinese aspirations in Asia. As long as Indian energies were tied up in the rivalry with Pakistan and with troubles in Kashmir, India would be less able to project power either in South Asia or the Asian continent. For Pakistan, China’s support had been crucial in preventing India from asserting its power in South Asia. These dynamics clearly complicate India’s aspirations for a greater role in Central Asia. Post-9/11 developments have diluted some of the logic of this triangularity by interposing American influence in the Central and South Asian region and increasing the costs to Pakistan of continuing to pursue a policy of sponsoring terrorism and to both Pakistan and China of continuing clandestine efforts to supply nuclear weapon and missile technology to countries like Libya and North Korea. The China-United States-India triangle has implications for Chinese and Indian aspirations in Central Asia. Even an India-U.S. partnership that is not aimed against China has the effect of dampening Chinese abilities to achieve its goals in Asia since U.S. policies are designed to prevent the emergence of a single Asian power. Thus, U.S. presence and influence in Central Asia and U.S. support of India’s role in that region would best China’s efforts to limit India’s role in and access to the region. India, meanwhile, would like to use its relationship with the U. S. to gain leverage over China to pursue cooperative endeavors as well as to check unwarranted Chinese efforts to derail Indian goals. The Russian-Chinese-Indian triangle in some ways replicates the China-U.S.- India triangle since India constitutes a hedge for Russia against China in Central Asia and Russia represents a point of access to Central Asia for India. In the India-Russia-U.S. triangle, India enjoys good relations with both Russia and the U.S. The logic of triangularity in this instance applies largely to the Eurasian region where Russian and American interests clash most directly and would represent a problem for India only if its support were sought by both. In Central Asia, this triangle works to India’s benefit certainly in the short- to medium-term. The U.S.-Pakistan-India triangle is the most challenging for the United States because America needs the cooperation of India and Pakistan to be successful in combating the threat of terrorism and Muslim fundamentalism. The outcome of this struggle has major implications for peace and stability in Central Asia. Conclusion While the Central and South Asian regions may be conceptualized in terms of the geography of the countries that constitute it., a focus on political boundaries alone belie the nature of the challenges and opportunities that become apparent as one considers the geographies of energy, religion, culture, and ethnicity that are superimposed on states. These various geographies have to be taken in to account in fashioning effective and feasible policies both to deal with challenges and to take advantage of the opportunities in these regions. In the end, however, the geographies of the imagination, particularly in India, China, and Russia, will play an important role in determining whether the Asian century will be a peaceful or conflict-ridden one



    link http://www.allacademic.com//meta/p_mla_apa_research_citation/1/8/0/2/5/pages180255/p180255-12.php
     
  13. A.V.

    A.V. New Member

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    central asia solution of indian energy needs

    Toronto, ON, Canada, — It is unlikely that the planned massive pipeline from Iran to India will be built in the next ten years. The same is true for the pipeline from Central Asia to India via Afghanistan and Pakistan. Each of these pipelines will cost US$8 billion dollars and require technical expertise from the West, and none will be forthcoming without the blessing of the United States.
    As Afghanistan is in a state of turmoil and will likely remain that way for a decade or so, the possibility of the construction of a major pipeline seems unlikely. Therefore India will remain in a state of limbo in terms of its energy needs.


    How will India secure its energy supplies? The question is relevant to China as well. China’s energy needs are three times those of India due to its US$1 trillion in manufactured goods exports, which require a huge amount of energy input. Hence it is experiencing a global scramble for oil and gas.

    First and foremost, to secure India’s energy needs, an Iranian-U.S. rapprochement is essential. Otherwise, any attempt by India to import gas from Iran, or establish oil and gas routes through Iranian territory, will make the United States unhappy.

    The United States today is a major source of funds, trade, service contracts and technical expertise to India; therefore it is not in India’s interest to ruin its relations with the United States. As for Pakistan, there would be no guarantee of uninterrupted flow of oil through its territory. However, with the blessing of the United States and pressure from Iranian commercial interests, Pakistan would most likely provide smooth supply arrangements.

    In the last five years, Central Asia has emerged as a new reservoir of oil and gas. These are landlocked countries dependent upon others to transport their resources. With oil prices at US$125 a barrel and with the possibility of the price reaching US$200 a barrel, Central Asian oil and gas are a good option for India. The United States, Europe, China and Russia are already jockeying for a piece of this action.

    Today, oil and gas from Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan find their way to the European market via the Russian distribution network. A U.S.-backed consortium has built a pipeline via the Caspian Sea to Turkey to transport oil to the Mediterranean. Fortunately, transit fee payments have ensured the safety of the pipeline to Turkey via a circuitous route through the war-torn former Soviet republics.

    It is estimated that the Central Asian republics of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan have about 300 trillion cubic feet of gas and 90 to 200 billion barrels of oil. As this amount is about the same as that of Saudi Arabia, the countries have drawn great interest from the bigger powers.

    China would like to build a pipeline from Kazakhstan to its east coast, but the 6,500-kilometer (4,000-mile) route is prohibitively long. Economical transportation to the Chinese industrial heartland is not likely. It is possible that China may build the pipeline halfway, to its central region, with reduced flow. Still, it would be expensive to operate.

    Although India is closest to the Central Asian supply chain, and potentially could be the biggest consumer of Central Asian oil and gas, it currently has no toehold in the region. The United States would prefer a route via Afghanistan, but it would be a long time for peace to return there, making a pipeline viable.

    The Iranian route, therefore, may be the easiest and possibly the cheapest gateway for Central Asian oil and gas. It would travel some 1,300 kilometers (over 800 miles) through Iran to its warm water ports of Jask and Chabahar in the Arabian Sea. There is already a small-scale oil terminal at Jask. The port of Chabahar is a cargo terminal with connections to Central Asia and Afghanistan. Hence these are ideal trans-shipping points.

    India’s oil needs in the next 10 years are expected to triple from the current 2.7 to 3 million barrels to 7 or 8 million barrels. In addition, gas needs would jump to 60 to 90 million cubic meters per day. The use of nuclear energy is an option, but remains in question due to political problems at home.

    India is also competing with China for oil and gas sources. China reached Myanmar before India and booked all the gas Myanmar had to offer. China also beat India three years back to grab the Canadian-owned oil company in Kazakhstan. Lately Pakistan is doing its best to interest the Chinese in the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline. With oil supplies running tight, the rivalry to secure supplies has intensified.

    How could Central Asian oil and gas reach India? A Turkish route for oil from Central Asia to India via Ceyhan in Turkey, to Israel, and by tankers to India is a non-starter. Transit fees and handling costs alone would make this deal expensive.

    An alternative route through the Iranian ports of Jask or Chabahar would be much shorter. Tankers could pick up oil at Jask and take it to Mumbai or the Gujarat coast. Gas from these sources could join the Iran-India-Pakistan pipeline and continue its journey to India. Still, this solution presupposes that in the next decade the United States and Iran will work out their differences.

    Another way for India to access Central Asian oil through the Arabian Sea would be the Iranian port of Neka in the Caspian Sea. Kazakhstan delivers oil to the Neka terminal today to further blend and swap it with Iranian oil. From Neka to Tehran a pipeline already exists, and has been delivering oil to a Tehran refinery for a number of years.

    This pipeline may be upgraded to carry Central Asian oil to the Arabian Sea. A farther pipeline to Jask from Tehran with a 1million barrels-a-day capacity is currently in design. Terminal facilities at Jask are also under construction. The total length of the pipeline from Tehran to Jask is about 1,000 kilometers (around 620 miles). The terrain and topography are suitable for a pipeline route.

    http://www.upiasia.com/Economics/2008/06/17/india_looks_to_central_asia_for_energy/5733/


    India is fully aware of this possibility, and is keeping it in mind in developing its relationship with Central Asia. India already has a foothold at the Iranian port of Chabahar, which it is helping to develop into a commercial port with access to both Afghanistan and Central Asia, bypassing Pakistan as a transit point for Indian goods and services.

    A road to connect Afghanistan to Chabahar has already been completed with Indian help. The Indian Air Force also has a base in Tajikistan opposite Afghanistan to neutralize future Taliban and Pakistan moves into Central Asia. Hence, before India begins a commercial relationship with Central Asia, it has to make sure that all angles are covered.

    The cumbersome routing of gas to India via Pakistan would still be a problem. Getting gas from Iran as well as Turkmenistan makes better commercial sense. If Pakistan ever interfered with the supply, it would anger not only India but Iran and Turkmenistan as well.

    In short, oil and gas could come to India from the Central Asian republics, provided Iran and the United States resolve their differences. If India shies away from this source, it will likely face a logjam in the next 10 to15 years. Middle Eastern supplies are dwindling; the Indo-U.S. nuclear deal is in limbo; not much can be expected from Myanmar; and gas discovered in India will meet only 30 percent of demand. Much less is true for oil. Hence, India should be proactive and stay engaged with the Central Asian republics.
     
  14. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    Central asian state kazakistan is also supplying us uranium for our reactors also the Russian influence in making these things happen should not be understated,nice article.
     
  15. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    India, Kazakhstan to cooperate in extraction of uranium

    Almaty (Kazakhstan) (PTI): India and Kazakhstan are expected to engage in joint extraction of natural uranium in this central Asian country after the two sides conclude the proposed inter-governmental agreement for cooperation in peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

    The two sides have signed a memorandum envisaging cooperation in "joint extraction of natural uranium" in Kazakhstan" apart from delivery of fuel for reactors in India, Mukhtar Dzhakishev, President of the National Atomic company Kazatomprom was quoted as saying by 'Khabar' news agency.

    His comments follow Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev's visit to India from January 23 to 26.

    During his visit, both sides noted that there were immense possibilities of cooperation in the civil nuclear energy sector, including in the mining of uranium.

    They welcomed the signing of Memorandum of Understanding between Nuclear Power Corporation of India and Kazatomprom and recommended early conclusion of an inter-governmental agreement for cooperation in peaceful uses of nuclear Energy.

    The MoU came months after the 45-member NSG ended India's 34-year-old nuclear isolation, allowing it to resume the atomic trade with the international community.

    Dzhakishev said that Kazatomprom's plans relating to India will be materialised in one month after signing of bilateral treaty on use of atomic energy in peaceful purposes.

    http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/001200902042026.htm
     

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