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Development of the Middle Corridor towards India

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The Middle Corridor is one of the critical transportation and transit lines that stands out as the shortest, most stable and least costly line connecting Asia and Europe. Although there are points to be developed in various regions, the Middle Corridor stands out as one of the main routes reaching Europe from China. Due to the developments experienced since the beginning of 2022, the importance of the Eurasian geography has increased even more. With the completion of the missing piece in Kyrgyzstan, the increase in the capacities of Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan ports in the Caspian Sea, and the realization of the Zangezur Corridor, it is obvious that the full potential of the Middle Corridor will be realized and various steps are being taken in this regard.

The Middle Corridor stretches from China to Europe; especially in Central Asia, it is divided into two main lines. Their routes are China-Kazakhstan-Caspian Sea-Azerbaijan, which can be defined as the Northern Line, and China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan-Turkmenistan-Caspian Sea-Azerbaijan, which is the Southern Line. In addition to this, there is another extension of the Middle Corridor. It is the Lapis Lazuli Corridor, known as the Türkiye-Georgia-Azerbaijan-Turkmenistan-Afghanistan Transit Transport Corridor. The route in question has great potential for Afghanistan to open up to the world and reach the seas.

Lapis Lazuli starting from Türkiye, covers the Georgia-Azerbaijan-Caspian Sea-Turkmenistan-Afghanistan route today. It is known that the route ending from the city of Herat in Afghanistan actually carries with it an important potential. Because the main purpose of the routes created in various parts of the world today is to connect the production sites and the markets. It is obvious that land transportation has gained greater importance in parallel with the increasing tension in the seas in the world. It is seen that the change in the geopolitical and geoeconomic characteristics of Asian countries creates a need for new lines.

Today, it is known that global dynamics are changing. Because the Western capital is looking for new ports by leaving China. At this point, India rise to the prominence in terms of cheap labor and qualified personnel. Especially in the recent period, the economic development of India has been making a big impact. As a recent example, India surpassed the UK in the last three months of 2021 to become the world’s fifth largest economy. While European economies, including the UK, face the risk of high inflation and recession; India is expected to grow by 7% in 2022. In the light of this data, the nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of both countries is 3.2 trillion dollars today and it is stated that in the near future, India will secure its place at the point of being the fifth economy.[1]

India’s economic development, the world’s geopolitical, geostrategic and geoeconomic power from West to East; in other words, it is an indication that it has shifted to Asia. This means that new transportation and carriage lines will be built in Asia. Because India, which has turned into one of the production centers of the world, needs safe and low-cost corridors to export the goods it produces. Considering the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC), which the country in question wants to develop to reach Russia and Europe, combining INSTC and Lapis Lazuli will provide significant advantages. Because for Lapis Lazuli to reach India, it has to pass through Afghanistan and Pakistan.

With the completion of this part, Islamabad and New Delhi, whose relations are tense, will be able to establish healthier relations based on common interests with a win-win approach. Decreasing tension in the region will not only weaken the security dilemma but also serve to prevent radicalization. On the other hand, New Delhi and Islamabad will gain the opportunity to reach Europe and Russia via Central Asia. At this point, it can be said that Uzbekistan will have alternative routes to reach the Russian and European markets, as it will have a complementary nature with the Trans-Afghan Transport Corridor (TATC) that it is trying to build together with Pakistan.

On the other hand, Afghanistan is the most important source of threat for both Central Asia, South Asia and Eurasia. The economic and humanitarian crisis in the country brings radicalization with it. The said threat carries significant risks, especially for Pakistan and India. It can be stated that the inclusion of Afghanistan in regional cooperation is the healthiest way to end the humanitarian crisis and possible threats in the country. Because with this method, countries will not only gain economic gain; but also, important threats to security will be eliminated.

As a result, the world is shaped through new corridors, new markets, and new production centers. The most important issue in the process of transporting the goods obtained in the production centers to the markets is the safety of the routes. Because any country loses its feature of being a reliable port for foreign capital as long as it is located in geographies that are mentioned with instability. It is essential to create various alternatives, both for sustainable development within the country, and strengthening regional peace, and stable corridors. At this point, it is possible to talk about the existence of the Lapis Lazuli route, which reaches Afghanistan from Türkiye, which is the gateway of Asia to Europe. The extension of this route to India via Pakistan will bring various gains in terms of economy and security. In today’s world, where the importance of the Middle Corridor is increasing, the inclusion of the growing powers of Asia such as India will increase the potential of the corridor. In this way, India will be able to reach Russia via Central Asia, and Europe via the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus at the least cost, in the shortest time, and via the most stable line.


[1] Philip Aldrick-David Goodman, “UK Slips Behind India to Become World’s Sixth Biggest Economy”, Bloomberg, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-09-02/uk-slips-behind-india-to-become-world-s-sixth-biggest-economy?leadSource=uverify%20wall, (Date of Accession: 10.09.2022).

Dr. Emrah KAYA
Dr. Emrah KAYA
ANKASAM Dış Politika Uzmanı Dr. Emrah Kaya, Akdeniz Üniversitesi Uluslararası İlişkiler Bölümü’nden mezundur. Yüksek lisans derecesini 2014 yılında Süleyman Demirel Üniversitesi Uluslararası İlişkiler Bölümü’nde hazırladığı “Latin Amerika'da Sol Liderlerin Yükselişi ve Uluslararası Politikaya Etkisi: Venezuela-Bolivya Örneği” başlıklı teziyle almıştır. Kaya, doktora derecesini de 2022 yılında aynı üniversitede hazırladığı "Terörle Mücadelede Müzakere Yöntemi: ETA-FARC-LTTE-PKK" başlıklı teziyle elde etmiştir. İyi derecede İngilizce bilen Kaya'nın başlıca çalışma alanları; Orta Asya, Latin Amerika, terörizm ve barış süreçleridir.