By Jamil Payaz (the 05/02/2014 issue of the CACI Analyst)
Kyrgyzstan has slowed down its accession to the Russia-led Customs Union after the Eurasian Economic Commission disregarded its request to include special preferences in Kyrgyzstan's roadmap. With an economy immensely benefiting from the transit of Chinese goods to the wider region, Kyrgyzstan is asking that its wholesale bazaars, Dordoi, Karasuu, and Madina, be granted free-trade-zone status and other support for the first years of its membership. However, it remains to be seen whether the Union members will eventually concede to Kyrgyzstan’s conditions, as free-trade-zones would undermine the Union’s very idea of protecting its market.
By Richard Weitz (the 22/01/2014 issue of the CACI Analyst)
India has made major economic, political, and strategic investments in Afghanistan since the Taliban lost power in 2001. The two countries share an interest in Afghanistan’s postwar reconstruction, pursuing common diplomatic goals, and cooperating against mutual security threats. For years, India has been undertaking programs to bolster Afghanistan’s security capabilities and integrate the country into regional diplomatic and economic structures. Now with the withdrawal of Western combat forces, India is acceding to longstanding Afghan government requests and deepening bilateral security cooperation, despite the risks of provoking a strong and adverse reaction in Islamabad, as well as enlarging their economic collaboration.
By Dmitry Shlapentokh (the 08/01/2014 issue of the CACI Analyst)
Kazakhstan is a member of the Russian-sponsored Custom Union, and intends to join the Eurasian Union. Yet, Kazakhstan’s foreign policy indicates that it regards Russia as just one among several partners, with which it cooperates in some areas but also competes against in others. The transportation of oil and natural gas has increasingly become a bone of contention, whereas China has emerged as a viable alternative. China has provided Kazakhstan with alternative transportation routes such as railroads, along with considerable investment, providing alternatives to Russia as well as the West. Neither the Russian-led Eurasian Union, nor any Western economic or geopolitical construction, is likely to monopolize Astana's attention.
By Richard Weitz (the 11/12/2013 issue of the CACI Analyst)
The Western Europe-Western China International Transit Corridor aims to improve the efficiency and safety of the main roads between China and Europe that pass through Kazakhstan. Despite the international focus on promoting rail traffic through Eurasia, it is also important to build better roads since Central Asian countries can more easily input their goods through them than through railways. The roads also promote short-distance trading within and among Central Asian countries. Otherwise, extra-regional actors will simply see and treat Central Asia as a transit zone for their transcontinental railways, which would not provide additional incentives to invest in Central Asian economies.
The Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst is a biweekly publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program, a Joint Transatlantic Research and Policy Center affiliated with the American Foreign Policy Council, Washington DC., and the Institute for Security and Development Policy, Stockholm. For 15 years, the Analyst has brought cutting edge analysis of the region geared toward a practitioner audience.