Recent political developments have pushed Afghanistan into economic crisis. In August, the Taliban assumed power in Afghanistan, with immediate repercussions across an economy already facing daunting development challenges. Rapid reduction in international grant support, loss of access to offshore assets, and disruption to financial linkages are expected to lead to a major contraction of the economy, increasing poverty, and macroeconomic instability.
The dramatic developments in Afghanistan have catalysed new geostrategic and geoeconomic concerns for the region. The evolving situation has also thrown up renewed challenges for India’s regional and bilateral ties with Central Asia and the Caucasus, prompting India to recalibrate its rules of engagement with the region.
After the breakup of the Soviet Union and the formation of the independent republics
in Central Asia, India reset its ties with the strategically critical region. India provided
financial aid to the region and established diplomatic relations.
India signed the Strategic Partnership Agreements (SPA) with Kazakhstan, Tajikistan
and Uzbekistan to stimulate defence cooperation and deepen trade relations. In 2012,
New Delhi’s ‘Connect Central Asia’ policy aimed at furthering India’s political,
economic, historical and cultural connections with the region. However, India’s efforts
were stonewalled by Pakistan’s lack of willingness to allow India passage through its territory. China took advantage of the situation and unveiled the much-hyped BRI in
Kyrgyzstan: India offered a $200 million credit line for development projects in
Kyrgyzstan and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on High-Impact
Community Development Projects (HICDP).
Kazakhstan: India attended the 6th Foreign Ministers’ Conference on Interaction and
Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA).
Armenia: Mr. Jaishankar is the first Indian Minister of External Affairs to visit
Armenia. India backed the Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and
Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in its attempts to find a peaceful solution to the
Nagorno-Karabakh dispute between Azerbaijan and Armenia.
The Taliban re-establishing its supremacy over Afghanistan has also exposed the
weaknesses of coalitions such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO),
created in response to the threats of terrorism that sprang from Afghanistan.
In response to terrorism concerns emanating from Afghanistan, the Shanghai
Cooperation Organization (SCO) was formed.
The Taliban’s re-establishment of power in Afghanistan has also exposed the coalitions’
flaws, such as the SCO.
Most member countries have used the SCO for their own regional geostrategic and
security purposes, resulting in a trust deficit and divergence within the organisation.
The majority of Central Asian governments see India’s Chabahar port as a way to
expand their export markets while also limiting China’s ambitions. They have accepted India into the Ashgabat Agreement, giving it access to connection networks that would facilitate trade and commercial contacts between Central Asia and Eurasia, as well as access to the region’s natural resources.
Rising anti-Chinese sentiment in the region, as well as Taliban security challenges,
allow India and Central Asia to rethink their relationship.
As they attempted to diversify their strategic connections, Central Asian countries were
eager to have India as a partner.
How to structure:
- Present the current situation in Afghanistan as the intro
- Give the challenges that may affect India’s regional and bilateral ties with Central Asia due to the present situation in Afghanistan. Use maps
- Suggest way forward and conclude