Central Asia and Its Asian Neighbors

Central Asia and Its Asian Neighbors: Security and Commerce at the Crossroads

Rollie Lal
Copyright Date: 2006
Edition: 1
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 62
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  • Book Info
    Central Asia and Its Asian Neighbors
    Book Description:

    China, Iran, Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan are critical players in the security and economic issues that will determine the future of Central Asia and affect U.S. interests in the region. By assessing the developing relations between Central Asia and its neighbors, it is evident that each country stands to benefit from stability and economic growth in Central Asia, but opinion toward U.S. presence and policy in the region could be a point of conflict.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-4107-4
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Central Asia
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Preface
    (pp. v-vi)
  4. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  5. Summary
    (pp. ix-xii)
  6. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  7. Abbreviations
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  8. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-2)

    In order to understand the role that Central Asia plays in Asian security, it is critical to look at the region’s relations with neighboring states such as China, Iran, India, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. To its neighbors, Central Asia presents economic opportunities and strategic challenges. Energy resources and prospective markets make the region attractive, although more from a long-term perspective than in an immediate sense. At the same time, concerns about the region’s stability worry neighbors and others, who either are already affected or stand to be affected by the narcotics trade, weapons trade, organized crime, and other transnational threats that...

  9. CHAPTER TWO China
    (pp. 3-10)

    China’s presence in Central Asia has visibly expanded in recent years, and it has become influential across the strategic, political, and economic landscape of the region.¹ China perceives itself as a player in an increased competition with the United States and Russia for influence in Central Asia, particularly as Operation Enduring Freedom and subsequent U.S.-led efforts to stabilize Afghanistan have provided a justification for an expanded U.S. presence in Asia. As the United States continues to closely engage the Afghanistan and Central Asian countries, China will remain apprehensive regarding U.S. interests and the possibility that the United States is attempting...

    (pp. 11-18)

    Iran has close historic and economic ties to Central Asia that provide a strong foundation for expanded relations. Persian empires reached across Central Asia, leaving a cultural and linguistic legacy that remains strongest in Tajikistan, and in the cities of Samarkand and Bukhara in Uzbekistan. Iranian diplomats continue to emphasize the cultural similarities that exist between the region and Iran as a reason for closer economic relations.¹ However, Iran’s stand in highlighting its role in Central Asia’s cultural heritage creates tension with Central Asian republics, who are apprehensive of an overbearing neighbor and interested in establishing themselves as independent states...

  11. CHAPTER FOUR Afghanistan
    (pp. 19-22)

    The relationship between the Central Asian states and their neighbors is complex and heavily influenced by the situation in Afghanistan. Afghanistan forms the link between regions, and it has endured a great deal of meddling from various sides, as in the past few decades, the United States, Pakistan, India, Iran, Russia, Uzbekistan, and other countries have attempted to push for a friendly government in Afghanistan. Since September 11, 2001, and the fall of the Taliban, Afghanistan has also gained in importance as a feasible key transport route for increased trade and security cooperation between the countries of Central Asia and...

  12. CHAPTER FIVE Pakistan
    (pp. 23-28)

    Pakistan’s relations with the Central Asian states have been complicated by its historic role in Afghanistan and in supporting Islamist groups. The military in Pakistan long considered Afghanistan to be a critical region for ensuring Pakistan’s security, as it could provide “strategic depth” against its rival India. In case of a major military engagement with India, friendly relations with Afghanistan would provide the Pakistani military with the ability to fall back and re-group.¹ Until the rise of the Taliban, however, Afghanistan remained a close friend of India. Instead of providing strategic depth, Pakistan viewed Afghanistan as part of a larger...

  13. CHAPTER SIX India
    (pp. 29-34)

    India, too, sees Central Asia through the lenses of economics and security. Like other neighbors, it has sought to expand counterterrorism cooperation and improve access to energy resources. India views Central Asia in the broader context of the militancy in Afghanistan and support for fundamentalism in Pakistan. Pakistan has historically suspected India of attempting to surround Pakistan by developing close ties with the countries of Central Asia and Afghanistan, though the Indian government denies harboring this intention.¹ According to Indian analysts, broader economic and political interests provide the foundation for closer Indian ties with the region.²

    India’s relations with the...

  14. CHAPTER SEVEN Conclusions: Implications for U.S. Interests
    (pp. 35-36)

    The Asian countries bordering Central Asia have distinct and growing interests in the region. For most states, regional security and economic ties form the central issues of interest. Trade across the region, in the energy sector and otherwise, is difficult if not impossible without stability and development. Regional organizations such as the SCO could have a role in promoting these common objectives. However, not all of the interested parties have the same perspective or approach to addressing regional security, weakening the effectiveness of organizations such as the SCO.

    China would like to have broader influence in Central Asia, both economically...

  15. Bibliography
    (pp. 37-44)