India-Central Asia Backgrounder

By Rani Mullen, Hemant Shivakumar, Persis Taraporevala, and Kailash K Prasad
6 January 2014

Soon after India's partition in 1947, its historical ties with the Central Asian region (CAR) suffered a setback as it lost its direct overland access to the region. However, in the following decades India somewhat resurrected its relation with the region largely due to its close diplomatic ties with the Soviet Union. Moreover, India was also one of the first nation to open a consulate in what later became Uzbekistan's capital Tashkent. However, over the past decade or so, the significance of close ties with the region has grown as India looks to diversify its energy imports and also strives to maintain regional stability especially in border areas between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Further, with India’s development initiatives in form of grants and lines of credit (LOCs) constituting less than one percent of the of the total volume of grants and LOCs extended by India overseas, there is ample scope for improvement. Thus, keeping these factors into consideration, we have tried to analyze the scope and potential of closer ties between India and the Central Asian region, with a special focus on India’s development partnerships in the region.