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Mainstream, VOL LIII No 29 New Delhi July 11, 2015

India’s Soft Power in Central Asia: Why it Must Act on the Look North Policy

Saturday 11 July 2015

by Ramakrushna Pradhan

This July visit of the Indian Prime Minister to Central Asia is of paramount importance for both regions because of several reasons: the first is to give India a substantial footprint on the hydrocarbon map of the region; to check and counter Pakistan’s strident Islamist agenda against India; to keep a tab on drug trafficking and potential weapon proliferation in this region; to promote India’s interests in the commercial arena and to garner support for the country’s emerging regional/global power status; India’s permanent membership of the UN Security Council; to provide New Delhi a grand stage alongside Washington, Moscow and Beijing to play a greater role in the Asian regional dynamics.

Modi’s stay a day in all the Central Asian republics will help India strengthen its bilateral and multilateral engagement with countries of heartland region and will boost up New Delhi’s re-engagement with Central Asia. This visit is doubtless significant after a prolonged overlook of the region by New Delhi. If it does not act now pro-actively, India’s importance may wane in this lesser known but strategically important region of the world. It is in this context that this article urges for pro-active and growing relations between India and the emerging Central Asian countries. The author also advocates for the revision and restart of India’s Look North Policy which is under hibernation since decades. India as a major regional and global power cannot leap-frog to the global high table without demonstrating effective and timely initiatives at the regional level, and Central Asia is an important constituent of this region.

India and Central Asia: Relations in Retrospect

A book into the past shows that much of India’s political history was shaped by events in Central Asia. The region has been a staging-ground for invasions into India. In fact the genesis of Central Asian dynamics in the Indian strategic thought has been mentioned in Kautilya’s Arthashastra. Central Asia was also a bridge for promoting Indian commerce and culture across Asia through the famous Silk Route.1 The closely connected relations between the Indus Valley Civilisation and Central Asian Khanates are also amply propounded in several sources. Both the regions share an exceedingly superb bonding and thorough friendship in the sands of time.

However, India’s ties with Central Asia were never consistent. It waned following the consolidation of the British Indian Empire around the mid-nineteenth century. Even though relations were revived in the years following independence, they failed to acquire any depth or intensity. Indian presence in Central Asia was characterised by its closeness to the Kremlin following the Sino-Indian border conflict of 1962.2 This was further strengthened by the Sino-Soviet schism in the years to come. India anyhow managed to get a cultural anchor in the region under the Indo-Soviet Friendship Treaty of 1971.3 However, its presence in the region nevertheless remained ‘muted’ and constrained by its ties to the Kremlin.4 Further, the lack of vision for a broader engagement with the region always pushed India into the back seat. The end of the Cold War brought the world into a standstill with the collapse of the great USSR. The sudden disintegration of the largest political landmass on earth undoubtedly left the Indian political establishment in a state of shock and surprise. However, it helped in ushering a cataclysmic shift in India’s foreign policy discourse—away from Nehruvian idealism towards realism and pragmatism with regard to the region.

This trend of realism and pragmatism has continued to found its place in India’s relations with Central Asia in recent years. In the context of the changing geostrategic and geoeconomic dynamics in the Central Asian landscape, India started recognising the CAR as an area of strategic importance. The ‘Look North Policy’ of India in the 1990s is a standing example of this. During a visit to Turkmenistan in September 1995, the then Prime Minister, P.V. Narasimha Rao, made it amply clear that ‘for India’, Central Asia is an area ‘of high priority, where we aim to stay engaged far into the future. We are an independent partner with no selfish motives. We only desire honest and open friendship and to promote stability and cooperation without causing harm to any third country.’5 Yet, such a proclamation of the ‘Look North Policy’ offering the proposition of ‘secularism’, ‘democracy’, and ‘literacy’ as national strength that India and Central Asia both share has waned for years to come. So much so that at present hardly anybody has any idea of what the Look North Policy was all about. Ironically, when put into context many confuse it with the Look East Policy. This probably reflects India’s least strategic priority towards the region in the 1990s in particular. When the world powers positively remained engaged in the CAR, India—a strategic neighbour—chose to stay away from the region under the guise of domestic compulsions in Kashmir and economic downturn facing the nation.

Nevertheless, time has the healing capacity. The trend of realism and pragmatism, that vanished for a while in the policy-making process, once again resurfaced in India’s foreign policy doctrine of 1997, popularly known as the ‘Gujural Doctrine’.6 Although the UPA Government in 2012 took the initiative to remain engaged with Central Asia through its ‘Connect Central Asia Policy’, it had literally no strategy and vision to work out that policy to realise it in practice. Public rhetoric gained momentum with lots of expectation especially with the coming to power of the BJP with Prime Minister Narendra Modi as its leader but this government also for the last one year has not done anything substantial as far as India’s Central Asia policy is concerned. However, it is never too late if India has the will-power to engage with Central Asia. And why it must not overlook the region has been elaborated in detail in the following paragraphs.

Security Interests

India’s security is closely tied to the instability in the region between Afghanistan and Pakistan. The unholy alliance between the Taliban and Pakistan has contributed to terrorist attacks against India on several occasions. Various Pakistan-supported terrorist groups active in Kashmir, such as the Lashkar-e-Toyyaba and Jaish-e-Mohammed, received military training in Afghan camps alongside Central Asian militant groups such as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and Tajik and Uighur militants.7 The IMU has close links with the Taliban and Pakistan’s ISI.8 A UNI report, dated April 3, 2000, states that “Afghan and Pakistan trained mercenaries are seeking fresh pastures to exploit their brand of fundamentalism with Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan emerging as their new hot spots”.9 To counter these, India’s cooperative security initiatives have already begun with Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.10 A 2014 attack in Xinjiang province has further exposed a close-knit nexus between the IMU and terror groups operating from Pakistan with a strident Islamic agenda.

Drug Trafficking

Drug trafficking poses a major security threat to India and the region at large.11 Afghanistan has been the largest opium producer of the world, according to the World Drug Report, 2011.12 Central Asia, because of its geographical location and its proximity to Afghanistan, has become a hub of drugs and narcotics transportation. Three Central Asian states, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, share their borders with Afghanistan. Tajikistan is the gateway for Afghan drugs to Central Asia. According to the annual report of the International Narcotics Control Board, one-third of Afghanistan’s opium crop passed through Tajikistan and its neighbour country, Kazakhstan. The emergence of Central Asia as a transit route for drugs is directly linked to the growing spread of drug addiction amongst the Central Asian people and funding of terrorist organisations which in turn are used against India. India therefore needs to pay greater heed to drug trafficking, since much of the money generated is used to fund activities of extremist Islamist terror networks. This is an area where India has a broad overlap of interests with the three other key players in the region—the US, Russia and China—with whom it could engage in multilateral cooperation.


The former Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, has reiterated several times that “energy security is second only in our scheme of things to food security”.13 Assured, uninterrupted supply of energy is critical for running India’s economic engine. India’s dependence on imported oil is projected to escalate from the current level of 83.5 per cent as of June 201214 to more than 90 per cent by 2030.15 Central Asia has an estimated four per cent (270—360 trillion cubic feet) of the world’s gas reserves;16 its oil reserves are pegged at 2.7 per cent (13-15 billion barrels).17

The energy resources of Central Asia, including the Caspian Sea region, will play an important role in India’s energy strategy. Central Asian oil and gas are of high quality and largely untapped. The investment environment is open and friendly.18 In addition, Central Asia is relatively more stable than the Middle East and African energy-rich countries.

Enriched Uranium

Central Asia previously served as a raw materials base for the Soviet weapons programme, with Kazakhstan holding large reserves of high-quality uranium, while Kyrgyzstan has substantial amounts of nuclear waste. Uzbekistan and Tajikistan hold sizeable uranium reserves and have the potential for its enrichment.

Economic and Trade Relations

Although in economic terms India and Central Asia do not share much satisfactory relationship, India has somewhat meagre presence in the Central Asian energy sector and growing presence in the field of pharmaceuticals. Trade in consumer goods is increasing but is constrained by economic barriers, particularly in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. With Tajikistan, India’s trade was worth $ 10.7 million in 2004-05 and $ 32.56 million in 2009—10.19 A joint venture between India’s Ajanta Pharma and the Ministry of Health in Turkmenistan, named Turkmen Derman Ajanta Pharma Limited (TDAPL), provides approximately half of the pharmaceutical needs of Turkmenistan. India has widened information exchange programmes with Turkmenistan, establishing the $ 0.5 million Turkmen-Indian Industrial Training Centre as a gift to train Turkmen citizens in basic skills in the manufacture of tools and components, in business practices for small and medium enterprises, and to provide financial, computer, and language training through its Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme.20

India’s trade with Uzbekistan amounted to more than $ 121 million in 2004. There are more than thirty Uzbek-Indian joint ventures in Uzbekistan.21 A significant source of revenue for India is in the pharmaceutical sales from Ajanta Pharma and Reddy Labs.22 The two countries are considering Indian gas exploration in Uzbekistan through India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL).23

India’s exports to Kyrgyzstan were worth $ 22.56 million in 2010-11 and Kyrgyz exports to India amounted to $ 1.2 million.24 Apparel and clothing, leather goods, drugs and pharma-ceuticals, fine chemicals and tea are some of the important items in India’s export basket to Kyrgyzstan. Kyrgyz exports to India consist mainly of raw hides, metallic ores and metal scrap.

Trade between India and Kazakhstan in 2011 was around $ 291.50 million.25 The major commo-dities of export from India to Kazakhstan are tea, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, machinery, tobacco, valves and consumer items. The major items of import by India are asbestos, soft wheat, steel, aluminium, wool and raw hides. Prospects for cooperation between the two countries in the spheres of oil and gas, civil nuclear energy, metals and minerals, agriculture, public health, information technology, education, culture and defence are promising. The two countries are developing bilateral trade in mechanical engineering and pharmaceuticals and in the defence sector. An agreement between the ONGC Videsh Ltd. (OVL) and KazMunaiGaz on Satpayev oil block in the Caspian Sea and an MoU between the NPCIL and Kazatomprom envisaging cooperation, including supply of uranium to India among others, were signed in 2009. An MoU for cooperation in the field of space, an extradition treaty and the protocol on the accession of Kazakhstan to WTO were also signed in 2009. A fresh agreement between the OVL and KazMunaiGaz for the purchase of 25 per cent stake in the Satpayev oil block was signed in Astana on April 16, 2011 during the visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.26 Discussions are currently underway for cooperation in the fields of fertiliser production, setting up of a petrochemical complex, a sulphuric acid plant, gold mining, thermal power plants, an Information Technology Park etc. Agreements in the fields of agriculture, health, culture, science and technology, and education etc. are also being discussed.27

The Central Asian countries also provide a convenient and low-cost hub for Indian travellers. Services in the form of flights from India to London, the US and Europe provide a lucrative export for the CARs.

Pharmaceuticals and Healthcare

A key area of cooperation between India and Central Asia is pharmaceuticals and healthcare. India has a competitive advantage in the global market in this field. Some of the Indian companies exporting pharmaceutical products to Central Asia are Claris Life Sciences, Ranbaxy, Dr Reddy’s Labs, Lupin Laboratories, Unique Laboratories and Aurobindo Pharma. Some of these companies are planning to set up manu-facturing units in Central Asia itself. The pharmaceutical factory of the Kazakh-India joint venture Kazakhstanpharma is in the process of completion in Almaty.28

Investment Potential

To facilitate trade and investment with this region, Indian policy-makers in the last decade have created an institutional framework. The government has set up intergovernmental commissions for trade, economic, scientific and technical cooperation with all the CARs, and these have been meeting regularly. These relations have been further institutionalised through joint working groups in various fields, such as information technology, science and technology, hydrocarbons, military-technical cooperation, etc. The Indian Government also extends small lines of credit to the CARs to enable Indian exporters to export to these markets without payment risk. In this scheme, about 15 to 20 per cent of the contract value is paid as advance by the importers; the balance contract value is disbursed by India’s EXIM Bank upon the shipment of goods. EXIM Bank oversees the recovery of credit. To promote and facilitate trade, double taxation avoidance agreements have also been signed.29

Furthermore, there have been improvements in terms of cooperation in the banking sector. The Canara Bank has links with the Commercial Bank for Foreign Economic Affairs of Tajikistan. The State Bank of India has links with the Turan-Alem Bank of Kazakhstan, the Commercial Bank of Kyrgyzstan, the National Bank of Tajikistan, the State Bank for Foreign Economic Affairs of Turkmenistan and the National Bank for Foreign Economic Activity of Uzbekistan. In 2003, the Indian Ministry of Commerce launched a programme named Focus CIS. The first phase focused on the five CARs plus Azerbaijan and Ukraine. Other CIS countries have also been included in the programme, which aims to promote business-to-business linkages, support trade fairs and different promotional meetings and seminars.30 In 2012, our Minister for External Affairs, S.M. Krishna, used the phrase “Connect Central Asia” based on the premise of four Cs: commerce, connectivity, consular and community,31 which seems to be taking the bilateral relations between the two Asian neighbours to a higher level.

India has also signed many agreements with these countries for technical and economic cooperation under the ITEC. Thus far, thousands of candidates from Central Asia have come to India under the programme in such disciplines as diplomacy, banking, finance, trade, manage-ment and small industry promotion. Potential sectors for collaboration between India and the CARs are broadly: food sector and agribusiness: processing agro products, machinery and equipment, packaging, fertilizers, irrigation; pharmaceuticals and healthcare: medicines, formulations, medical devices, hospitals; ICT: telecom, technology parks, e-governance, IT training, business processes; textiles: machinery, garments; and energy: power generation and transmission, oil refining, petrochemicals.

Military Cooperation

Militarily, India has had a weak presence in Central Asia. Among the Central Asian Republics, the Tajik-Indian relations are crucial in establishing India’s military presence in Central Asia. The Ayni air base—what would have been India’s first military base overseas—was delayed and subsequently cancelled due to Russian instigation.32 The Ayni air base is located near the Tajik-Afghan border and could potentially be the key to securing Indian interests in Afghanistan as a match for Pakistan. Previously, in 2001, India had set up military hospitals that served the wounded Northern Alliance leaders during the fight against the Taliban; those helped establish good relations with the Tajiks. Now, talks are on about re-opening the Indian military hospital and extending Indian presence at the Fakhor Air Base. Given that India’s only border with Central Asia near Kashmir is separated by a narrow strip of Afghan land, and is occupied by Pakistan, the Tajik airbase will be absolutely instrumental in gaining military strategic depth and India should continue to pursue that option. Currently, Tajik-Indian relations ensure the only military footprint that India has in the region. The Indian Army Chief’s visit to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan in November 2011 was an indicator of the seriousness with which India is now looking at re-engaging with Central Asia.33 Nevertheless, the road will not be easy given the past experiences.


The Central Asia-South Asia Regional Electricity Market (CASAREM)34 is based on the vision of a Greater Central Asia. This, in turn, is based on the premise that Central and South Asia are, or can become, a single integrated unit committed to economic activity and growth. The countries of the region, and particularly India as the leading force of South Asia, have deep cultural and historical ties and many common concerns such as against terrorism, finding outlets for energy supplies, achieving prosperity through economic cooperation, and moving towards enhanced security and stability. This concept further strengthens the spirit of regional security and regional cooperation.

SCO and India

The SCO has now emerged as a major geo-strategic, security and economic initiative in entire Eurasia. India’s is already an observer membership in the Organisation and it is set to become a full member state in the Ufa Summit of the SCO to held on July 9-10 in Russia.35 This summit would be a stepping-stone for regional cooperation in Eurasia as this is for the first time both the SCO and BRICS (Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa) member-countries are meeting in the same platform. Since all the CARs and Russia are in support of India’s full membership of the SCO, India’s official entry into the Organisation would help her for its future role and position vis-a-vis China in the region. Nevertheless, membership in the Organisation will not merely help India in getting entry into the region but would also enable to propel its interests vis-à-vis China in Central Asia. It would also facilitate India to counter Pakistan’s anti-India propaganda and guarantee its economic participation with the greater Central Asian region.

India’s Connect Central Asia Policy

The ‘Connect Central Asia Policy’ (CCAP) of India was first unveiled by the Minister of State for External Affairs, E. Ahmed, in a keynote address at the first meeting of the India-Central Asia Dialogue, a Track II initiative, organised on June 12-13, 2012 in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.36 The purpose of this policy is to fast-track India’s relations with the Central Asian Republics. The policy calls for setting up universities, hospitals, information technology (IT) centres, an e-network in telemedicine connecting India to the CARs, joint commercial ventures, improving air connectivity to boost trade and tourism, joint scientific research and strategic partnerships in defence and security affairs. During S.M. Krishna’s visit to Tajikistan on July 2-3, 2012, the former Foreign Minister expounded the unfolding policy under the rubric of ‘commerce, connectivity, consular and community’.37 This policy initiative, if properly channelised, would enable India to attain the centre-stage in Central Asia and this would further help India to achieve its basic objectives of engagement in the greater Central Asian region.

Great Power Game and India’s Soft Power

As of July 2015 the US, Russia and China are the three major strategic players in Central Asia. India is a latecomer and disinterested power in the region. The US entered into Central Asia in the early 1990s keeping in mind the issues of geostrategy, security, energy and democracy. However, its presence was further strengthened only around 1994 with the focus largely concerned on the oil and natural resources of the region, to administer and control the pipelines originating from Central Asia and to maintain a balance of power by countering China and restricting Iran. The main objective then was to also take care of the nuclear instability that could emerge if Iran or Pakistan gained access to the Central Asian uranium mines. The other US objectives were to save the region from the threat of Islamic fundamen-talism, strengthen the role of Turkey and block Russian influence in the area.

China and Central Asia have been closely intertwined in history and that relationship has begun to re-emerge today. This has further led to a booming relationship between the two natural allies in the early years of the 21st Century. China shares a 3500 km of border with Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan. In the early years of the CARs’ independence, China was interested only in the political stability of the region and in preventing Islamic funda-mentalism taking roots there. Eventually, to loosen the hold of the US in the region China boosted its diplomacy in Central Asia. Nonetheless, China’s major interests in the region also includes: to get access to energy resources of the CARs, and to address its problem of East Turkestan movement in Xinjiang. It initiated in 1996 the formation of the Shanghai Five with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Russia to stabilise its borders, to promote peace and cooperation in the region and to develop greater trade relations with the CARs. Uzbekistan joined the Organisation in 2001, when it was renamed as Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).

China further transformed the Xinjiang-Uighur Autonomous Region into a free market zone in 1998 to strengthen cooperation with Kazakhstan and to open up trade routes in the region. Xinjiang has a major significance for China beyond issues of territorial integration and regional harmony, as it has one of the biggest oil-bearing basins in Asia—the Tarim basin. China is also the second-largest consumer of oil in the world after America. China has great interest in gaining access to the rich deposits of hydrocarbon and hydroelectric resources of the region. Beijing is actively taking part in exploring the Aktyubinks and Mangyshlak oil deposits and building an oil pipeline in the Kazakhstan-Xinjiang region. China is the major energy partner of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan on the eastern side of the Caspian. China worked to create the world’s fastest-built natural gaspipeline, linking Turkmenistan’s vast south-eastern gasfields with Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan’s formidable reserves to help slake the second-largest economy’s seemingly unquenchable thirst for resources.38

China now plans to export 65 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas from Turkmenistan annually, more than double that envisioned for the largest capacity version of the Nabucco pipeline. Two strings, or portions, of the Central Asia-China pipeline are already completed, connecting Turkmenistan to China through Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. A third is already under construction along the original route and a fourth would potentially take an alternative path through relatively stable northern Afghanistan and Tajikistan to China’s Xinjiang province and thence onward to the burgeoning east coast. The pipeline was operational a record 18 months after its original announcement.39

 Russia, on its part, has three major reasons for being involved in Central Asia. One is to protect ethnic Russians in the region. Second, to maintain access to important resources of the region such as precious metals. Third, to restrict the influence of the external powers in the region in general and the US in particular and also to retain its influence in the region.

Although Russia, China and the US are the major geo-strategic players in the region, the influence of Islamic countries such as Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Afghanistan should not be underestimated. The competitive rivalry between Turkey and Iran in Central Asia is unique. Both have taken steps to convince the CARs to recognise their respective roles in the region. Turkey has been concerned that Iran may attempt to turn the Muslim nationalities towards theocracy, while Iran is worried that Turkey’s active role in the region is aimed at pan-Turkism. This rivalry has been further accentuated with the United States’ open support to Turkey and Russo-Chinese backing to Iran.

Pakistan, on its part, has offered political support, economic integration and ideological solidarity to the CARs, hoping to pave the way for a broader strategic unity. The role of Iran, Turkey and Pakistan has been transformed over the year with regard to Central Asia. Parti-cularly, after the 2001 World Trade Centre attack incident, the regional politics in the CARs got intertwined with larger national security perspectives of the nations surrounding Central Asia and Afghanistan. For Iran, greater US involvement brought in mixed results: engage-ment in Afghanistan by US forces strengthened the security of Iran while engagement in Central Asia seems to have encircled Iran. For Turkey, rising dynamics of regional politics and the US’ encouragement helped in underpinning its position in the region, particularly in the pipeline diplomacy sector. For Pakistan, Central Asia is a land of fellow Muslim brotherhood and hence a friendly zone for propagating anti-India propagandas. And she is still continuing with the very idea, although it is not positively recipro-cated by the democratic and secular Central Asian republics. Importantly, none of them has identical interests in Central Asia, except Iran, having a larger role in the regional dynamics.

The roles played by powers such as Iran, Turkey and Pakistan in Central Asia will continue to depend, as they do today, partly on their domestic dynamics and problems; and partly on their relationships with one another and the great powers. Given the number of parties involved, the intricate puzzle, that is, the regional politics of Central Asia is likely to remain for the foreseeable future a web of complex, intricate, and sometimes contradictory relations. India needs to seize the opportunity in both hands by engaging these contradictory powers with each other while keeping an eagle eye on her interests in mind. Iran and Turkey are friendly countries of India while Pakistan is the lone anti-India propagandist that needs to be tamed in iron hand.


The major hindrance between India and the Central Asian region is its geographical barrier obstructed by the great Himalayan mountain range and hostile Pakistan and rival China. However, this geographical obstruction shouldn’t hamper India’s great power ambition and for that India must develop the Chabahar port of Iran to connect with Central Asia without depending upon Pakistan and China. This can be done only when the Indian leadership expresses its political willingness and economic desire to be engaged in the region. Iran, on it part, has already conveyed its desire to allow India to develop transit lines through Iran and to use its land and ports for transportation.


India and Central Asia are strategic neighbours and natural allies. The two regions are geographically proximate, share common history and cultural affinity. As part of its regional geostrategy, India requires to pursue serious and active bilateral and regional agreements to promote security in the region. It needs to carry forward the goodwill from the close relations it maintained during the Soviet times. It is high time for Narendra Modi as the PM to seriously view India’s Look North Policy as an important parameter of India’s foreign policy like its Look East counterpart in order to pursue New Delhi’s regional agenda, security issues, national interests, energy security, containment of errant Pakistan and to offset the Chinese influence in the region.

India can do what it wants in the region because of its soft power image and its policy of non-interference in the internal matters of any country and a standing history of non-aggression against any country and as a leader of Third World states in global forums.


1. Stobdan, P., 2000, ‘Central Asia and India’s Security’, Strategic Analysis, Vol. 28, No.1, January-March, p. 55.

2. Sharma, Raghav, 2009, ‘India in Central Asia—the Road Ahead’, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, Special Report, No. 63, January, p. 3.

3. Ibid.

4. Blank, Stephen, 2004, ‘India’s Continuing Drive into Central Asia’, Central Asia Caucasus Analyst, January 14, p. 7.

5. Muni, S.D., 2003, ‘India and Central Asia: Towards a Cooperative Future’, in Nirmala Joshi (ed.), Central Asia—The Great Game Replayed: An Indian Perspective, New Delhi: New Century Publications, p. 110.

6. Sen Guota, Bhabani, 1997, ‘Gujural Doctrine—Security Dimensions of Gujural Doctrine’, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, No. 2, August 2.

7. Rohde, 2002, “Delhi Tracks Al-Qaeda, Jaish Link“ in Lal, Rollie (ed.), Central Asia and its Asian Neighbours: Security and Commerce at the Crossroads, Santa Monica, CA: Rand, p. 30.

8. Blank, Stephen, 2003, “India’s Rising Profile in Central Asia“, Comparative Strategy, 22(2) (April), p.141.

9. Ibid.

10. Rohde, 2002, “Delhi Tracks Al-Qaeda, Jaish Link“ in Lal, Rollie (ed.), Central Asia and its Asian Neighbours: Security and Commerce at the Crossroads, Santa Monica, CA: Rand, p. 30.

11. Sharma, Raghav, 2009, “India in Central Asia—The Road Ahead“, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, Special Report, No. 63, January, p. 8.

12. World Drug Report, 2011

13. Peel, Quentin, 2004, “India’s Terms of Engagement“, Financial Times, November 11, p. 15.

14. The Hindu Business Line, 2012, “Dependence on Crude oil imports on the rise”, July 19.

15. TERI, 2012, “National Energy Map for India — Technology Vision 2030", The Energy Research Institute, New Delhi.

16. ICG, 2007, “Central Asia’s Energy Risks“, International Crisis Group, Asia Report, no. 133, May 24, p. 12.

17. Sharma, Raghav, 2009, “India in Central Asia— The Road Ahead“, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, Special Report, No. 63, January, p. 4.

18. Arvanitopoulos, Constantine, 1998, “The Geopolitics of Oil in Central Asia”, Thesis, Winter, available at www.hri.org/MFA/thesis/winter98/geopolitics.html.~

19. “S.M. Krishna Arrives in Tajikistan on Two Day Visit“, Daily News and Analysis, July 2, 2012, www.dnaindia.com.

20. Rohde, 2002, “Delhi Tracks Al-Qaeda, Jaish Link“, in Lal, Rollie (ed.), Central Asia and its Asian Neighbours: Security and Commerce at the Crossroads, Santa Monica, CA: Rand, p. 33.

21. Sachdeva, Gulshan, 2010, “Regional Economic Linkages“, in Nirmala Joshi, (ed.), Reconnecting India and Central Asia, New Delhi: New Elegant Printers, p. 138.

22. Uzbek Embassy, New Delhi, 2005, “Uzbekistan President Starts State Visit to India“.

23. Ibid.

24. “India-Kyrgyzstan Relations“, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, March 2012.

25. “India-Kazakhstan Relations“, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, February 2012.

26. Ibid.

27. Ibid.

28. Stephen, Blank, 2004, “India’s Continuing Drive into Central Asia“, Central Asia Caucasus Analyst, January 14, pp. 7—9.

29. Sachdeva, Gulshan, 2010, “Regional Economic Linkages“, in Nirmala Joshi, ed. Reconnecting India and Central Asia, New Delhi: New Elegant Printers, p. 138.

30. Ibid.

31. “Indian FM’s Tajik Visit Shows Desire for Stronger Central Asian Ties“, Central Asian Newswire, 6 July 2012.

32. Sharan, Shalini, 2012, ‘Central Asia: India’s Real Strategic Depth?’, Centre for Strategic and International Studies, February 27, available at http://csis.org/blog/central-asia-indias-real-strategic-depth.~

33. Ibid.\contentMDK:22743334 pagePK:146736 piPK: 146830 theSitePK:258599,00.html

34. http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/COUNTRIES/ ECAEXT/0, contentMDK:22743334 pagePK:146736 piPK: 146830 theSitePK:258599,00.html

35. www.ufa2015.com

36. Das, Jyoti Prasad, 2012, ‘India’s Connect Central Asia Policy’, Foreign Policy Journal, October 29.

37. Ibid.

38. Petersen, Alexandros, 2012. “In the hunt for Caspian Gas, the EU can learn from China”, European Policy Centre, October 17.

39. Ibid.

Dr Ramakrushna Pradhan, a Ph.D from the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, is a Lecturer in Political Science, PG Department of Social Sciences, Fakir Mohan University, Balasore (Odisha).