By Stephen Blank (01/07/2015 issue of the CACI Analyst)
Few realize that China is actually building three Silk Roads, one through Central Asia to Europe; a second, maritime one, through South East Asia to India and South Asia; and third, China is building a robust commercial network through the Arctic to connect it with Europe. In all three cases there is a common geopolitical dream that has been shared by Russian and Asian leaders since the opening of the Suez Canal: building a land-based alternative connecting East, South, and Central Asia to Europe by purely terrestrial means. China’s plans for Central Asia are extraordinarily ambitious but there are serious problems that could undermine them.
By Sudha Ramachandran (11/26/2014 issue of the CACI Analyst)
The Indian government’s decision in late October to participate in the development of Iran’s Chabahar port will jump-start this long-delayed project. The port’s expansion will boost its emergence as a major transshipment hub and its strategic location is expected to transform the region’s geopolitics. But will this ambitious project realize its full potential given unrest in the Sistan-Balochistan province, where it is located, and the prospects of a civil war looming large in Afghanistan?
By Nicklas Norling (11/11/2014 issue of the CACI Analyst)
On October 9, Kazakhstan and the EU concluded negotiations on an enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, superseding the PCA that had been in force since 1999. The agreement, the first of its kind, is primarily a result of strengthening trade and investment ties between Kazakhstan and EU countries developed over the past 15 years. Kazakhstan is among the most economically EU-oriented post-Soviet states and one of only three whose trade with the EU is growing relative to that with other countries. The enhanced partnership will serve as a foundation to further strengthen these ties but the EU must upgrade Kazakhstan in its list of priority countries to exploit the partnership’s full potentials.
By Mamuka Tsereteli (10/01/2014 issue of the CACI Analyst)
Newly emerging geopolitical and economic realities are dictating an increased focus on developing the land transportation corridor between Asia and Europe. Asian producers and European importers are seeking faster ways of delivering business orders to European consumers at competitive prices, while there is also an increased flow of goods from Europe to Asia. Maritime routes are cheap but slow, and there is a growing competition between different land transportation options from China, India, Pakistan and other countries via Central Asia to Europe. One of them is a multimodal transportation option from Central Asia through the South Caucasus to the Black Sea or Turkey and beyond to Europe. Regional leadership and U.S. and EU support is required for it to succeed.
The Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst is a biweekly publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program, a Joint Transatlantic Research and Policy Center affiliated with the American Foreign Policy Council, Washington DC., and the Institute for Security and Development Policy, Stockholm. For 15 years, the Analyst has brought cutting edge analysis of the region geared toward a practitioner audience.