Pakistan and India in the Foreign Policy of Central Asian States

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In the process after the collapse of the Soviet Union, five Central Asian states developed various policies and strategies within the scope of their national interests. In particular, Kazakhstan has adopted a multi-vector policy in the process of its relations with the world. Thus, by turning its geopolitical position into an advantage, it has established strong ties with regional and global powers from the perspective of equality, mutual respect and win-win. On this occasion, Kazakhstan, which could stay away from the fierce competition between countries, became a model for other Central Asian states after a while. Today, it is possible to evaluate the foreign policy of all Central Asian states within the scope of versatility and vectorism.

Central Asia has seen Russia, China, the United States of America (USA) and the European Union (EU) as priority centers during the relations it has established. Because the economic capacity of the states and actors in question meant that Central Asia’s gains would increase and be achieved at a high rate.

In addition, Central Asian states are known as peaceful actors and perceived as reliable partners, as they are not involved in the fierce competition processes between power centers in the world, through multi-vector foreign policy. This situation has accelerated the investments made in the region. In addition, as the prosperity and stability in the region strengthens, the states have adopted a will to intensify their relations with their immediate surroundings. In this context, even in the process of changing power and production centers in the world, Central Asian states have gained the opportunity to strengthen their relations with new centers.

Many actors from India to Pakistan, from Singapore to South Korea can be counted among the states that have recently risen in world politics. However, it is possible to say that Pakistan and India, which are located in South Asia, are among the priority states for Central Asia. The states in question; They are strategic partners that will provide important gains for Central Asia in many areas, especially in economic, trade, security and geopolitics.

Pakistan offers one of the shortest routes for Central Asian states to reach the seas. In addition, while the Trans-Afghan Transportation Corridor, which is planned to be implemented, transports Central Asia to the seas; On the other hand, it has the potential to become a gateway to India.

One of the aims of the Central Asian states is to create opportunities and develop commercial relations at the point of reaching various markets. Pakistan’s population of more than 200 million means an important market. In addition, Pakistan has high energy needs. Central Asia, on the other hand, can export energy to the country in question, enabling their economies to complement each other.

In this context, there are various projects such as TAPI, TAP and CASA 1000, which have been tried to be implemented since the past, between the Central Asian states and Pakistan. However, there is a common will to implement new projects and strengthen relations. The situation in question is a common will in the eyes of all Central Asian states, but also receives a positive response from Pakistan. The increase in trade volumes between the parties is an indicator of this.

India is among the rising powers of both South Asia and Eurasia. Being one of the five largest economies in the world turns this country into an important market. In particular, the increasing energy need of India and the underground riches of Central Asia complement each other. On the other hand, Central Asia carries out various contacts to strengthen its ties with India. In this sense, it is obvious that the relations established with a state like India will add dynamism to the multi-vector foreign policy.

The geopolitical obstacles between the Central Asian states and India prevented the parties from developing deep-rooted relations. Today, India is trying to build a line to reach Central Asia within the framework of the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC). In addition, another factor that deepens the relations of states is regional security. Central Asian states act together with Pakistan as well as with India against security threats centered on Afghanistan. The joint action of states against the existence of radical terrorist organizations in the region ensures that relations gain a multidimensional feature.

As a result, Central Asian states are turning into the center of Asia and even Eurasia with the multi-vector foreign policy they follow. While relations with global actors became a priority in the post-independence period; With the change of power and production centers, the states of the region started to give more importance to the relations they established with their close surroundings. In this context, it is seen that the South Asian states come to the fore and various projects are implemented to develop geographical ties. For this purpose, efforts are being made to strengthen economic, commercial, security, political and cultural ties with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, as well as with Pakistan and India. Intensifying relations means increasing the gains of South Asia as well as Central Asia.

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.