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India’S Rising Profile In Central Asia

Title:India’S Rising Profile In Central Asia
Author:Stephen Blank
Publication:Comparative Strategy / Routledge, part of the Taylor & Francis Group
Enumeration:Vol. 22, No. 2 / April / May / June 2003 , pp.: 139 - 157
Abstract:India's rising profile in Central Asia has not received the attention it deserves. Nonetheless, any discussion of trends affecting Central Asia would be incomplete without a discussion of Indian policy. Undoubtedly, India's policies toward Afghanistan and the former Soviet republics of Central Asia reflect changing perspectives in its long-standing rivalry with Afghanistan, perspectives that have been affected by years of warfare in Afghanistan, the terror campaign in Kashmir, and the events of September 11, 2001 and afterwards. But India's strategy also reflects major trends in Indian foreign policy that go beyond these considerations. Those trends reflect India's growing economic and miltiary power and its policymakers' increased atention to and interest in becoming a major pan-Asian player, not just the dominant power on the subcontinent. India's policies toward Central Asia therefore dispose of all the instruments of power: economics, diplomacy, and military power. The military instrument is used directly in the form of the projection of Indian military power and in the form of arms sales and security assistance to key states there. Likewise, Indian diplomacy has cemented a series of regional partnerships, if not alliances, with key actors, often actors whose own interests are at wild variance with each other except in Central Asia: Israel, Iran, and the United States. There is no doubt that India is continuing to expand its "investment" in Central Asia and that it will deepen its connections to the area in terms of economics, diplomacy, and defense cooperation. Therefore if we are to understand both Indian policy and strategic trends in Central Asia an assessment of India's role there is essential.

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