Prospects for EU-India Cooperation in Central Asia
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the five Central Asian countries - Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan - are witnessing significant changes in their economic and political systems. Despite having a very complex legacy, they have made progress in economic and political transformation with varying degrees. The Soviet era leaders in more or less non-competitive regimes tried to pursue economic stability while securing their own dominance in the new political system. They also learnt a few lessons from the Chinese model of development. After a decade of recession and difficulties, these countries witnessed strong economic performance till 2014. During this period, Central Asia’s trade and investment links with neighboring economic centers increased significantly. China, Russia, and the European Union (EU) became their main export destinations and sources of imports, FDI and remittances. Slowdown in all these markets and declining oil, gas and commodity prices have pushed Central Asia for diversification. Significant political changes are also taking place in two of the largest countries in the region Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. Overall, the region has been relatively stable in recent years. Central Asia is also the main focus of engagement for both the Russian and Chinese integration and connectivity plans. Moreover, deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan has created security uncertainty in the region.