Emil Avdaliani writes: The American exit from Afghanistan has created a power vacuum. The quartet of China, Russia, Pakistan, and Iran stands to benefit the most from the US withdrawal. The area to accrue the least benefit is Central Asia, whose five states (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan), together with Afghanistan, represent one continuous geographical space. Separation would be geopolitically harmful to the Central Asian states, as security spillover from Afghanistan has a direct impact on Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan because of their long border.
Paul Globe writes for Jamestown Foundation: Perhaps not surprisingly, the development of railways in Central Asia and of shipping routes and pipelines across the Caspian Sea are routinely characterized as elements of geopolitical competition among major outside powers, including Russia, China, Turkey, the United States, Iran and India (see EDM, February 19, 2013, May 23, 2017, March 21, 2019, April 23, 2020, December 15, 2020). But such a focus often overshadows the views and actions of the countries in the region, each of which is generally more concerned with boosting itself at the expense of regional competitors, even if that delays progress on vital projects.
go to Jamestown Foundation: New Transport Routes in Central Asia and Caucasus Trigger Intra-Regional Competition – Jamestown
Paul Globe writes for Jamestown Foundation: For the last several years, China has made use of its own private military companies (PMC) to guard Chinese industrial sites and transportation networks across Central Asia that it views as essential to its broader “One Belt, One Road” (more recently known as the Belt and Road Initiative—BRI) project. But now, in the wake of the withdrawal of the United States’ forces from Afghanistan, the rising strength of the Taliban and the militant group’s growing threats to Central Asian countries (see EDM, July 13), Beijing is expanding the presence and mission of these PMC troops. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, during a recent swing through Central Asia, told regional leaders that Beijing’s reliance on imported PMCs to guard local strategic infrastructure will be an important new form of security assistance to them against any threat from the outside (Eurasia Today, July 16). This expanded Chinese activity inevitably challenges other players in the region, including the Russian Federation, Turkey and the United States.
go to Jamestown Foundation website: Beijing Expanding Size and Role of Its ‘Private’ Military Companies in Central Asia – Jamestown
Amb Skand Ranjan Tayal writes for VIF: President Shavkat Mirziyoyev of Uzbekistan hosted an important conference ‘Regional Connectivity Between Central Asia and South Asia – Challenges and Opportunities’ in Tashkent on 15-16 July 2021. The conference was proposed by the Uzbek President in his statement at the UNGA last September, but the weeks before the conference saw a rapid deterioration in the Afghan situation and the subtext of the informal discussions and the formal statements was the dangerous situation in Afghanistan.
go to VIF website: Uzbek President’s Call for Connectivity, Cooperation, Dialogue and Trust in Central Asia-South Asia Region: Pakistan’s Obduracy is the Obstacle | Vivekananda International Foundation (vifindia.org)
Dmitri Trenin writes for Carnegie Moscow Center: There are two problems with U.S. overseas deployments outside the Western world. One is when Americans enter a region by force, disrupting the geopolitical status quo. The other is when they pull out, leaving behind a mess.
see the Carnegie Moscow Center’s website: Afghanistan After the U.S. Pullout: Challenges to Russia and Central Asia – Carnegie Moscow Center – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Ulugbek Khasanov writes for Valdai Discussion Club: Every regional international political system has a certain combination of common systemically important factors that distinguish it from others and determine its qualitative properties. In forming a foundation for international security, modern Eurasia plays a balancing role in in global processes, being dependent on stability in its strategic regions and Central Asia is recognized to be one of them.
read the analysis: Central Asia: Regional Security as a Process — Valdai Club
Emil Avdaliani writes for BESA Center: On May 12, 2021, China’s FM Wang Yi hosted the second China + Central Asia Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in the city of Xi’an. At the top of the agenda was Afghanistan, as China is worried about possible spillover into Central Asia and its eastern provinces.
go to the analysis: China and Russia: A New Vision for Central Asia (besacenter.org)
Despite close historical and cultural connection that India shared with Central Asian region, the bilateral relations have remained below the potential. The key reason is the lack of connectivity. However, in 2015, with PM Modi’s visit to this region, India’s outreach in Central Asia has gradually increased. Join Amb D P Srivastava and Dr. Pravesh Kumar Gupta for a discussion on the issues and prospects of the india-Central Asia relations.
For the last five years I have lived and worked in the beautiful city of Almaty, Kazakhstan. On clear days, the city offers a stunning skyline backed by the Tian Shan mountains. But clear days are becoming fewer and farther between. Sadly, these unique views are often obstructed or fully blocked by poisonous smog.