By Tristan Kenderdine
July 17, 2018, the CACI Analyst
A strategic deployment of trade corridors is taking shape across Afghanistan and Iran as both India and China subvert each other’s trade strategies through key geoeconomic states. Afghanistan’s land corridor to Chabahar port connects it to India by sea, creating a Persian-Gulf to Caspian Sea corridor, while the Afghan air corridor to India provides a parallel, more direct trade route. By contrast, China’s twin economic corridors in the region run perpendicular: north-south through Pakistan to the Gulf, and east-west through Iran to Istanbul. Pakistan’s Gwadar and Iran’s Chabahar are thus effectively in the same geopolitical node, connecting very different Great Game trade strategies.
By Sudha Ramachandran
January 10, 2018, the CACI Analyst
On November 11, a consignment of 15,000 tons of wheat arrived in Afghanistan from India via Iran’s Chabahar port. This is an important milestone for the three countries as it marks the operationalization of the transit trade agreement they signed in 2017. In addition, the first phase of the development of Chabahar port has been completed. It is expected to energize Iran’s economy and provide India with a gateway for overland access to Afghanistan and the Central Asian states. Importantly, landlocked Afghanistan now has another outlet to the sea, reducing its dependence on Pakistani ports. This will reduce Islamabad’s influence over Afghanistan.
By Stephen Blank
October 16, 2017, the CACI Analyst
The recent Indo-Chinese crisis over the Doklam area has been peacefully resolved for now, yet its repercussions risk spilling over to both South and Central Asia and beyond. The Doklam clash has demonstrated to China that it can no longer push India around, and India immediately registered that lesson in self-confidence by stating that it will play a larger role in Southeast Asia, another area where they both jostle for influence. Similarly, we can expect an expanded rivalry in Central Asia, not least within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) now that India and Pakistan are both members.
By John C. K. Daly
September 27, 2017, the CACI Analyst
On August 22, after nearly 16 years of war in Afghanistan, U.S. President Donald Trump announced his intention to increase the U.S. military presence there, extending the longest war in U.S. history and adding billions more dollars to its cost, now estimated to over US$ 1 trillion since 2001. In searching for revenue streams to support this outlay an idea that has been around for more than a decade is being revived: exploiting Afghanistan’s rich, underused mineral wealth. Despite the extent of the country’s mineral deposits being well known, many impediments remain to their development despite international interest.
By Rizwan Zeb
August 7, 2017, the CACI Analyst
Afghanistan has been a factor in the rivalry between India and Pakistan since 1947. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has embarked upon a campaign to isolate Pakistan from developments in Afghanistan. The Sixth Heart of Asia summit, held in Amritsar, India in December 2016, was overshadowed by this increasing enmity. Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani sided with Modi, accusing Islamabad of all ills in Afghanistan. New Delhi’s and Kabul’s approach at Amritsar must be avoided in the future. Kabul needs to put its house in order and should not become a party to Indo-Pakistan rivalry. New Delhi and Islamabad also need to understand that expanding this rivalry into Afghanistan will not serve their interests.
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.