India Central Asia Relations

Long historical, cultural and economic connections. The famous Silk Route not only connected the people and businesses, but also let the thoughts, culture and beliefs flow freely from one region to the other.

  • India considers the Central Asian countries as part of its ‘extended and strategic neighbourhood
  • In 2012, India announced the ‘Connect Central Asiapolicy with four major interests in Central Asia: security, energy, trade and mutual cooperation in various realms

India Central Asia Relations

Importance of central Asia 

  • Energy security – Significant hydrocarbon (gas) and mineral resources (uranium) + close to India geographically
  • Strategic Location – Geographically a bridge between different regions of Asia and between Europe and Asia
  • Complementary Economies – India wants energy reserves, they want agricultural & pharmaceutical products
  • Security – To tackle the challenge of terrorism, narcotics trafficking and arms smuggling – as it lies in neighborhood of ‘Golden Crescent’
  • Central Asian nations and India can play effectively role in bringing normalcy in Afghanistan.
  • Regional cooperation: Four central Asian Nations are part of SCO



  • The key constraint India faces is the lack of direct access to Central Asia
  • Central Asian region is land locked. It has hampered India’s relation with central Asia. Poor connectivity has also contributed to the below-par trade between India and Central Asia.
  • The unstable situation in Afghanistan and a highly problematic India-Pakistan relation have deprived India from the benefit of relations with Central Asia.
  • Chinese presence: Central Asia is part of Silk Road Economic Belt initiative


Latest development to connect central Asia 

  • India has become full member of SCO. Annual SCO summits will provide a forum to leaders of these countries to meet and discuss issues of bilateral and regional interest.
  • India is a founding member of International North-South Transport Corridor, a multi-nation project to create transport and logistics infrastructure
  • India plans to develop Chabahar port in Iran, which will allow access to landlocked Afghanistan and energy-rich Central Asia from Indian Ports
  • India has acceded to Ashgabat Agreement, an international transport and transit corridor facilitating transportation of
  • Goods between Central Asia and the Persian Gulf.
  • Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI), expected to be completed by end 2019


India – Kazakhstan

  • The biggest source of Uranium for India, besides Australia and Canada
  • India was one of the first countries to recognize the independence of Kazakhstan.
  • Have agreement on defence and military-technical cooperation
  • Kazakhstan is India’s largest trading partner in Central Asia
  • Kazakhstan is the biggest oil and gas producer in Central Asia
  • Kazakhstan is supportive of India’s permanent membership of UNSC and full membership of SCO and India supported Kazakhstan’s candidature for non-permanent membership of UNSC for 2017-18.
India Yearbook English India Yearbook Hindi Economic Survey 2017

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