Combination of soft diplomacy with focused delivery is needed to engage Central Asia

Sarkaritel
By Sarkaritel May 8, 2018 13:58


“India’s extended neighborhood of central Asia and Countries of the Region are a classic case of being too near yet too far, said Shakti Sinha, Director Nehru Memorial Museum and Library at New Delhi. Mr. Sinha was unveiling the Book “The Trade Game: Engaging with Central Asia” authored by a senior and seasoned Bureaucrat Dr. Amiya Chandra, ITS. While referring to land locked geopolitically significant region of the world which was sitting on vast Hydrocarbon Reserves and Mineral Resources and gateway to Eurasia, Shakti Sinha recalled the PM Modi’s maiden visit to all the five Countries of the Region simultaneously which put a fresh spotlight on India’s connect Central Asia Policy. The Book Launch ceremony witnessed the presence of eminent panelists like former Ambassador Ashoke Mukherjee, Ambassador of Turkmenistan, H. E. Mr. Parakhat H. Durdyev and Prof. Sharad Soni of the Jawahar Lal Nehru University.

Delivering a brief yet Lucid Power Point Presentation on his book, the author Dr. Amiya Chandra referred to the great game played by great power likes Russia, Britain and others in 19th Century in this strategically & economically significant land locked Region of Asia Where India has a historical, Cultural and trade connect. This Political game has given the way to business and trade maneuvering in 21stcentury to control the Oil, Gas & mineral rich Region. Dr. Chandra pointed out that the new players in the recent times are China and Turkey, the former with its enormous economic clout & Infrastructure building and the later with its proximity & Religion.

This ‘debt leverage’ of China by way of infra Building, OBOR & CPEC, according to the author, has given China an early start and firm footing. This is exactly where India, despite its Centuries of cultural and spiritual contact with the Region is lagging behind, even though she became the members of SCO participated in TAPI, NSTC and constructed Chahbahar in Iran.

Referring to geographical limitations, Small Market, Low Population of the Region and language barrier, Dr. Chandra argued that it was high time India should put its act together and focus on connectivity, Tourism service sector, Pharmaceuticals, IT and Hospitality in the Region. He referred to India’s slow decision making, deployment of meager resources and scattered goals in the region which was hampering India’s case. Dr. Chandra cited the low trade figure between India & Central Asia which stood at 1.5 b$ and contrasted it with China’s 50 b$ trade to bolster his arguments.

He also argued for a more focused approach let by the government and the public and private sector giant to set up the manufacturing base in this area. He also said that since business follows tourism so more direct flight and people to people contact should be promoted. He argued for a liberalized custom regime concession applicable to the region.

Ashoke Mukherjee, former Ambassador, threw valuable light on the subject while emphasising  Spiritual Dimension of India’s relations with the countries of central Asia. Prof. Sharad Soni expressed his hope that the book may prove to be valuable to the students, researchers and policy makers on Central Asia.

Sarkaritel
By Sarkaritel May 8, 2018 13:58