INDIA: COOPERATION WITH THE CENTRAL ASIAN COUNTRIES IN REGIONAL SECURITY
Irina Komissina, Senior researcher, Russian Institute for Strategic Research (Moscow, Russian Federation)
Against the background of the global geopolitical changes that are radically transforming the current system of international relations, we can clearly see how India is striving to occupy one of the key positions on the South Asia’s political map, become the region’s recognized leader, and so play an increasingly important role in its development. What is more, Delhi is boosting its influence in other regions, in particular in Southwest and Southeast Asia.
We should keep in mind that the plans and intentions of the Indian leadership are based on such objective factors as the country’s more than billion population, its advantageous geostrategic location, its significant military-political possibilities, primarily its possession of nuclear weapons, as well as its vast economic potential and sufficiently firm foothold in the promising sphere of information technology.
Relying on these factors makes it possible for the country to conduct an active foreign policy in various regions of the world. One of them is Central Asia, with which Delhi is extremely interested in developing political and economic relations.
It should be noted that as early as the beginning of the 1990s, India began to establish diplomatic, trade and economic, political, and other bilateral and multilateral relations with the Central Asian states that formed after the Soviet Union collapsed. This met the country’s vital political and economic interests, since it enabled India to hold onto the rewarding interaction and good-neighborly relations built up during the years of traditional Indian-Soviet cooperation.
Delhi’s increased attention to this region is largely explained by the fact that in recent years it became the arena for the “big game,” in which not only the leading world powers are actively participating, but also the “mid-level” nations, primarily Pakistan, India’s standing rival in South Asia. In this respect, the Indian leadership believes one of its most important foreign policy tasks to be counteracting any attempt by Pakistan to reinforce its influence on the Central Asian states, where Delhi’s diplomatic activity is extremely high and more noticeable than its economic presence.1
Confirmation of this can be found in the annual reports of the Indian Foreign Ministry,2 which indicate that the priority assigned to the Central Asian republics is defined by the historical ties between the sides and the important geostrategic location occupied by the states of this region. Taking into account its strategic and economic significance, the Indian foreign policy and foreign economic departments are faced with the task of purposefully strengthening and diversifying relations with the Central Asian countries. And the fact that India and these republics have so much in common is seen as a very positive factor in this respect. They share the same democratic values, are consistently carrying out a policy of secularism, are actively opposed to extremism and terrorism, and recognize the correlation in their national security problems.
According to the Indian side, a spirit of close mutual understanding, common approaches to various issues, including regional security, regulation of the situation in Afghanistan, and the fight against religious extremism, terrorism, and drug trafficking is inherent in its current foreign policy relations with these countries. However the economic sphere, where there are good prerequisites for mutually advantageous cooperation (Central Asia’s rich natural resources, on the one hand, and India’s technological and scientific potential, on the other), still lacks the dynamism necessary for developing mutually advantageous relations. This is primarily due to the difficulties faced by the region’s states, the economies of which are going through the growing pains of transition. Cultural and humanitarian ties, on the other hand, are developing at a very high level, and are being carefully maintained and pursued with alacrity.
India’s priorities in the Central Asian vector were set forth in particular during Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh’s visit to the region in May 1999 and during Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s visit to Uzbekistan in May 2000. And in June 2002, when he was in Kazakhstan, the prime minister reaffirmed Delhi’s desire to strengthen ties with all the states of the region. This was reflected in the initiative he put forward for the so-called “New Silk Road of Friendship and Cooperation” between India and the region.3
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India (the very existence of which as a united state is only possible with the strict observance of secularism) has set its sights, in terms of its foreign policy goals, on preventing the spread and consolidation of militant Islamic fundamentalism in the region by creating a kind of “buffer zone.” To this end, it is conducting a policy aimed at comprehensive intensification of its relations with all of the countries belonging to the region.
During the first years after the Central Asian republics gained their independence, Delhi was seriously concerned about the possibility of Muslim fundamentalism being established in the region. But these anxieties were quickly dispelled when it became clear that the leaders of all five states were conducting a secular policy and unequivocally announced their desire to oppose a spread in Islamic radicalism. Nevertheless, Delhi is well aware that just because the leaders of all the Central Asian republics have announced their adherence to a secular policy, this does not mean they will automatically be pro-Indian. This requires active diplomatic efforts, which India’s foreign policy department is currently exerting, particularly since the conditions are extremely conducive to this. The prestige of its main rival, Pakistan, has taken an abrupt downturn in the eyes of the international community, since it has besmirched its reputation by being seen as a country that encouraged the emergence of the “Afghan problem.”
According to the newspaper Hindustan Times, Indian Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao’s visits to the region (Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan in 1993 and Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan in 1995) were evidence of the government’s desire to develop comprehensive ties with the Central Asian republics. “The transformations in these states toward democracy and political pluralism and toward creating a market economy correspond to similar processes in India and have led to common viewpoints. Direct contacts between parliamentary deputies have helped India to reach a consensus on the need to continue a policy of friendship with the states in the post-Soviet space” is how India’s relations with the CIS states were described in the annual report of the Indian Foreign Ministry for 1995-1996.4
But despite the optimistic start, in 1996-1999 bilateral foreign policy relations were in the doldrums. They could only be roused from their lethargy by the threat of terrorism.5 The Indian side went on to put forward and actively implement a regional initiative of humanitarian “people-to-people” contacts within the framework of which diplomats, members of parliament, and other people influencing public opinion in the Central Asian countries were invited to come to India, where they had the opportunity to visit industrial and technological centers and talk to well-known politicians, government officials, and businessmen.
This policy was in no small measure determined by the common nature of many of the sides’ viewpoints on world policy. For example, the leaders of the region’s countries expressed their willingness to reinforce cooperation with the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in which India still plays an important role, despite the fact that in 1996 this movement did not support India’s refusal to sign the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty. Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan became full-fledged members of NAM, and Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan were given the status of observer in it.
India (which has strained relations with some of its neighboring countries) is extremely interested in the initiatives coming from Central Asia to strengthen peace not only on a continental, but also on a global scale. This particularly concerns the initiative put forward by Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbaev to convene a Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICBMA) at the 47th session of the U.N. General Assembly in October 1992.
CICBMA, as a qualitatively new interstate mechanism, is opening up opportunities for engaging in active conflict-prevention on the continent. This question was discussed during the very first meeting between the Kazakhstani and Indian leaders. The Indian side stated that Asia needs such a process since it is aimed at resolving conflicts and creating a favorable climate for international cooperation. According to Delhi, the CICBMA is an important tool for strengthening security and stability in Asia, which suffers from a dearth of collective cooperation mechanisms.
Based on the fact that stability on the continent is a vital factor in developing mutually advantageous economic cooperation, throughout the entire decade of preparations for the conference, India took active part in the consultations held in Kazakhstan on this problem, as well as in drawing up the documents necessary for carrying out this undertaking. Incidentally, right up until Pakistani President Faruk Ahmed Han Legari visited Almaty in November 1996, Nursultan Nazarbaev’s initiative received a more than cool reception in Islamabad. And only during this visit was the need to convene the CICBMA set forth in a joint statement by the sides, after which Pakistan joined the conference work.
In June 2002, the first CICBMA summit was held, at which the Almaty Act, setting forth the main goals and areas of the organization’s activity, was adopted, the structure of the organization and the principles for conducting interrelations among the member states were determined, and a declaration on eliminating terrorism and assisting a dialog between civilizations was signed. These documents laid the foundation for future cooperation among the Asian countries within this forum. The summit participants evaluated the conference as a key event in the efforts of the continental states to find joint approaches to the resolution of common Asian problems. India positively assesses the stance of the Central Asian countries on political settlement of the Kashmir problem, which is a constant source of acute controversy between Islamabad and Delhi.
Of particular significance is the fact that India and the states of the region share similar views on several urgent security problems in Asia; in particular, they state the need for rapid regulation of the situation in Afghanistan.
For the Central Asian republics, Afghanistan is the main source of religious extremism, drug trafficking, arms smuggling, terrorism, and illegal migrants. The hostilities that have been going on in this country for many years now have given rise to conditions that are conducive to the militant ideology of religious extremism and terrorism. Emissaries from Afghan Islamic organizations, primarily the Taliban movement, have been active in the Central Asian states, who have been sowing ideas alien to true Muslimism, disseminating religious extremist literature, and calling for the current secular power to be overthrown.
India has also been viewing the Taliban as a threat to its security, since its militants took active part in the subversive activity in Kashmir and prevented Delhi from maintaining control over this territory.
So in this situation, the region’s republics and India were interested in intercepting the spread in Islamic fundamentalism and the activity of the Taliban movement. Back when power in Afghanistan was in the hands of the Taliban leaders, the heads of these states expressed serious concern on more than one occasion about the development of events in Afghanistan and stated their firm conviction that interference from the outside must be stopped as quickly as possible in order to regulate the situation and restore peace and stability in this country. In order to look for ways to reinstate peace in Afghanistan, they discussed this problem (Tehran, October 1996), along with Russia, Iran, China, and representatives from the U.N. and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). But unfortunately this meeting did not yield the desired results since representatives from the fighting sides were not present at it.
Since the beginning of the antiterrorist campaign in Afghanistan, the Central Asian republics have been giving it immense support,6 but when the American Operation Retaliation was over, the hopes for a rapid solution to the problem with the aid of the anti-Taliban coalition were not justified. At present, the situation in the country is far from stable, which is shown by the bombings in the capital, the assassination attempt on President Khamid Karzai, and so on.
When analyzing the latest military-political events and situation in Afghanistan in general, it should be noted that, from the viewpoint of ensuring security in the region, the following factors are the most important: the presence of isolated groups of international terrorists and religious extremists in the country; the lack of a strong state power capable of controlling the situation in all the provinces and guaranteeing the national reconciliation process; the presence of a large number of weapons and military hardware among the population; the difficult socioeconomic situation, primarily the lack of alternative sources of existence for the country’s residents, which is one of the main conditions for the prosperity of the drug business.7
The situation in Afghanistan is having an impact on the overall state of affairs in the region, and the quicker peaceful life is established in the country, the more stable and safer things will be in Central Asia. This is why its heads of state are in favor of granting financial aid to help the post-conflict restoration of Afghanistan and are expressing their willingness to establish bilateral good-neighborly relations and participate in rebuilding its infrastructure. They are fully justified in their belief that security, stability, economic prosperity, and further democratic development of the region’s states are closely tied to the eradication of terrorist activity in Afghanistan and the elimination of the conditions conducive to its revival.
India is also stating its willingness to exert maximum efforts to bring about rapid normalization of the situation in Afghanistan, in particular elimination of the threat to its unity from fundamentalist and extremist forces. It is also striving to play an important role in reconstructing the destroyed country and trying to ensure that Indian companies receive as many contracts as possible in implementing this work. For this purpose, it granted Kabul immediate aid in the amount of US$100 million and air communication between the two countries was restored. The Afghan side is also actively showing a desire to cooperate; in particular, the head of government, Khamid Karzai, has already made two visits to India.
Delhi’s desire to reinforce its foothold in Afghanistan and prevent it from becoming Islamabad’s anti-Indian ally can clearly be seen behind this.8 In this respect, an official representative of the Indian Foreign Ministry stated that the Taliban’s return to power was impermissible and confirmed Delhi’s obligations to assist in establishing a new moderate and stable government in this country.9
Otherwise, events could develop unfavorably, along such a scenario as follows: Al-Qa‘eda militants and the Taliban flee from Afghanistan to Pakistan and establish contacts with the Pakistani groups active in Kashmir, whereby they use terrorist acts to wage war with India, Islamabad is defeated, and they calmly seize power in Pakistan.10
The extremely urgent problem of international terrorism has aroused the general concern of India and the Central Asian countries. And whereas India has suffered from terrorism11 caused by religious extremism for many years, the Central Asian republics have only come face to face with it recently: the explosions in Tashkent in February 1999, the Batken events in the summer of the same year, and the raid by militants of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan in 2000 through Kyrgyzstan to Uzbekistan.
Of course, until recently, the main source of terrorism in Asia was Afghanistan, where militants from various countries of the world, including India, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan, have gone through training in the camps located on territory controlled by the Taliban. For example, according to Uzbekistan Foreign Minister A. Kamilov, at the beginning of 1998, up to 400 people from the region’s states, primarily Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, took training courses in subversive action in these camps and in Pakistan. The Kashmir problem took an unexpected turn when Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh stated that the intrusion by Pakistani troops in the summer of 1999 into Indian territory in the Kargil sector of Kashmir took place with the active participation of Osama bin Laden’s militants.
It should also be mentioned that the instability in the neighboring Xinjiang-Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR) of China is also having a negative impact on the situation in the region. The separatist moods in XUAR are finding support in the Central Asian Uighur diaspora. What is more, the International Committee for the Liberation of Eastern Turkestan and the Liberation Organization of Uighurstan, which are largely active in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, have been recognized as terrorist.
The growing threat of violence from terrorist structures is forcing the region’s republics not only to cooperate with each other, but also to look for help among countries that share their concerns and have experience with fighting terrorism, in particular, India. The Central Asian states are actively cooperating with India by consistently and actively opposing any manifestation of international terrorism.
Successful interaction in this sphere is based on the common approaches to the problem of transborder terrorism. The starting point here was Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov’s visit to India in May 2000, during which most of the agreements signed related to the fight against this common threat. The need to join and coordinate efforts to combat the dangers coming from Afghanistan was set forth in a declaration on the principles of future relations, in agreements on extraditing criminals and assisting in crime-solving, and in an agreement on mutual assistance among customs services. In so doing, the Uzbekistan president emphasized that in addition to terrorism there are also common threats such as religious extremism, drug smuggling, and organized crime. And if we do not get down to actively resolving them, we can expect the most serious consequences.
Islam Karimov’s visit was part of the diplomatic efforts of the region’s countries to involve India in creating an international coalition aimed at isolating the radical forces in Afghanistan. According to Uzbek specialists, it is also expedient to use India’s experience with fighting religious extremism, particularly since it is in Delhi’s strategic interests to improve relations and cooperation with the Central Asian countries.12
When discussing the problems of religious stability during Jaswant Singh’s visit to Tashkent in May 2000, the sides expressed their concern about the spread in Islamic fundamentalism and the development of the situation in Afghanistan. In so doing, Uzbekistan Foreign Minister A. Kamilov hinted at Tashkent’s desire to institute a mechanism of “regular and topic-related political consultations” along the lines of a joint economic commission. Mr. Singh welcomed this proposal, assuring that Delhi would be flexible regarding the level at which such negotiations could be held.13 Along with this, he suggested increasing the number of Uzbek specialists to be trained within the framework of the Indian technical program and invited Uzbek servicemen to take practical study courses at Indian military colleges. Later, in February 2003, an agreement was signed on jointly combating terrorism and creating a joint working group, which should meet no less than once a year.14
Bishkek also shares Delhi’s views on the fight against terrorism, which was emphasized during Kyrgyzstan President Askar Akaev’s visit to India in April 1999. During his next visit to this country in August 2002, an intergovernmental joint working group to fight international terrorism and other crimes was formed.
Kazakhstan, which has not directly encountered acts of terrorism on its territory, nevertheless joined America’s Operation Retaliation in Afghanistan and became a full-fledged member of the antiterrorist coalition. In February 2002, the republic’s president, Nursultan Nazarbaev, made an official visit to India, during which the sides confirmed their resolve to fight terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. After criticizing the terrorist act against the Indian parliament on 13 December, 2001, Nursultan Nazarbaev expressed his support of a “global, all-encompassing, and consistent” struggle with terrorism until it is completely eradicated. The negotiations ended in the signing of an agreement on the creation of a joint working group to fight international terrorism, which has already held several meetings. In further developing these agreements, a joint declaration on fighting terrorism was signed during Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s visit to Kazakhstan in June 2002.
As for Tajikistan, the country’s president, Emomali Rakhmonov, has called on India several times to use its influence in the region and intensify efforts to bring about rapid peaceful settlement of the conflict in Afghanistan. During Rakhmonov’s official visit to India on 9 May, 2001 and his talks with the prime minister of this country, particular attention was focused on issues of regional security, the influence of the inter-Afghan conflict on the processes going on in the region, as well as joint measures in the fight to stop the spread of drugs. In order to enhance cooperation in maintaining regional security and the fight against international terrorism, religious extremism, and illicit drug circulation, India gave Tajikistan a special grant for US$5 million. And in December 2001, the sides signed a memorandum on an information exchange regarding the fight against terrorism and separatism, and later an agreement on creating a “working group on terrorism.”
Within the framework of the general international campaign against terrorism, India is showing a growing interest in establishing military cooperation with the Central Asian countries, whereby in the case of Tajikistan, as Z. Siroev, a representative of the republic’s Defense Ministry, noted the matter concerns joint military exercises.15
Several scientific undertakings were also devoted to discussing the urgent problems of terrorism. For example, the participants in the seminar “India-Central Asia” held in India in 2000 emphasized the need for joint measures in the fight against terrorism and other manifestations of political extremism in Central and South Asia.16 The influence of the events in Afghanistan on regional security was discussed at an international seminar called “Central Asia: 10 Years of Independence,” which was held in 2001 in Delhi.17 The question of creating a new structure of international relations in the region was the pivotal issue at a conference on “Problems of Security in Central Asia” held in 2002 in Almaty.18
It should be noted that the keen interest of the Central Asian countries in developing bilateral cooperation with India, which are clearly counting on its help in fighting terrorism, gave Delhi the opportunity to create and head a coalition of these countries to eradicate transborder terrorism. But according to some Indian analysts, their country lost this chance by not taking the necessary steps in time.
Illicit Drug Circulation
As world practice shows, terrorist organizations are usually financed by illicit drug circulation. For example, according to Asa Hutchinson, Director of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the link between drug trafficking and terrorism is crystal clear, so complete victory over terrorism is impossible without a successful fight to eradicate the production and sale of drugs. Speaking on a CNN program, he noted that this link is primarily geographical: terrorists and drug traffickers look for a base in a country where the law is weakly enforced. Another link is financial: where there are drugs, there is also money, and terrorists need stable financing for their operations. One such stable source is drugs.19
It should be noted that both India and the Central Asian states are encountering this problem, since the consumption of narcotic substances in these countries has long-standing traditions. And the proximity of these states to the world drug production centers (“the golden triangle” and “the golden crescent”) is only aggravating the situation. What is more, Central Asia is attracting the interest of the drug mafia not only as a sales market, but also as a convenient drug transit route to Russia and Europe.
Afghanistan is still the largest drug supplier. It accounts for up to 70% of the world’s opium production. According to the U.N. Regional Representative Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention, approximately 65 percent of the poison from Afghanistan goes to Central Asia across the border with Tajikistan (at an international conference on this problem, Emomali Rakhmonov said that up to one ton of drugs comes into the country every day). They then go on through Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan to Russia and other European countries. A U.S. State Department report published in 2002 and devoted to the problem of drug control mentioned another permanent route: Afghanistan-Turkmenistan-Uzbekistan-Kazakhstan-Russia-Europe.20
The law enforcement structures of the region’s countries have succeeded in intercepting less than 5 percent of the narcotics transited through them, and, according to experts, Afghan heroin occupies two thirds of the European and one third of the American markets. It should be noted that if this flow used to be equally distributed along Afghanistan’s entire border with the Central Asian states, recently there has been an evident shift to the Tajik section, which in terms of the amount of drugs confiscated in the last year has moved from 23rd to 5th place in the world.21 Between January and October 2002 alone, 2.5 tons of poison was confiscated by the Moscow border patrol, 60 smugglers arrested, and 75 attempts to illegally cross the border intercepted.
At present, the Central Asian states have come up against the most virulent expansion of international criminal groups, which are using these republics to transit drugs. In so doing, experts note the increase in the region’s countries of the number of drug addicts and drug-related crimes. For example, employees of the law enforcement structures in Kazakhstan believe that the situation in these countries is steadily deteriorating, and the number of drug-related crimes has increased by 73 percent.22
Although it is not a large drug-producing center, this problem has also become rather urgent for India, since against the background of the traditional use of hemp and opium in the country, the use of heroin and synthetic drugs is growing. According to Pino Arlacchi, executive head of the U.N. Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (UNODCCP),23 Afghanistan is the main supplier of opium, morphine, and heroin to India, as it is to Central Asia. Nevertheless, a reduction in illicit drug circulation has been noted in the past few years, which according to India’s Drug Unit Director-General M.K. Singh is because the drug mafia has assimilated a new northern route through the Central Asian and Caucasian countries (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Azerbaijan).24
In this respect, S. Chakrabarti, an employee of the Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement, notes that India, which for many decades has been of interest for heroin suppliers only as a transit country, is increasingly becoming its major consumer. This is being promoted in particular by economic liberalization, which is leading to changes in the urban lifestyle.25 The regions of northeast India and areas located close to the Indian-Pakistani border are becoming major drug trafficking centers.
According to various sources, drugs are used by at least 1 percent of the country’s population. But the number of drug addicts treated in medical institutions in 1998-1999 did not exceed 100,000 people. Taking into account that 45 percent of the population comprises young people under the age of 19, the problem of combating illicit drug circulation is becoming one of the government’s top priorities.
The overthrow of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan does not mean that the situation in this area can be changed easily and quickly. The new Afghan government is unlikely to be able to wage a successful war against poppy growing, since this is the only source of income for most of the population of this impoverished and ravaged country. Nor did the US$70 million allotted in 2002 by the European Union as compensation to peasants for cultivating agricultural crops instead of poppy yield the desired result, since this amount proved to be less than the revenue procured from the sale of raw drugs. And the law adopted by the Afghan government banning the production and distribution of drugs, including a ban on planting and harvesting hemp and poppy, aroused mass acts of protest among the rural residents in many of the country’s provinces.26
Ms. Antonella Diledda Titchener, regional representative for Central Asia, UNODCCP, thinks that the drug situation in Afghanistan is unlikely to improve any time soon. The authorities’ opportunities for reducing drug cultivation are limited, for example, in 2002, a large harvest of 3,500 tons of opium poppy was gathered, which is enough to produce 340 tons of heroin. Drug trafficking from Afghanistan is still posing a threat to the security of its neighbors and becoming a long-term problem for all the region’s countries.
Having armed themselves with a strong crime-fighting strategy and recognizing the need for cooperation with foreign and international law enforcement and other structures engaged in combating the illicit use and circulation of drugs, India and the Central Asian states are joining their efforts in this area. In so doing, in addition to signing bilateral agreements on cooperation in this sphere and in fighting other crimes, they are also looking for new ways to interact.
The development of events in Central Asia shows that, despite the unequivocal choice by all the region’s countries of a secular model of development, it is still too early to remove the Islamic factor from the agenda. This is due not only to external factors, primarily support from various Islamic foundations and charity organizations in Muslim countries, but also to the accumulating internal discrepancies: socioeconomic, political, demographic, environmental, ethnic, psychological, and others. Things went as far as organizing unsanctioned antigovernmental meetings and strikes, during which Islamic parties demanded that Islam be declared the official ideology and state religion and that Muslim states be created in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.27
According to experts, the radical party Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami (Islamic Liberation Party) is the most active in the region, the size of which its leader (who remained anonymous), in an interview on 9 November, 2000 with Akhmed Rashid, a Pakistani political scientist, claimed to be in the tens of thousands. Most of its supporters in Uzbekistan live in the Namangan, Ferghana, Andizhan, Surkhandaria, and Tashkent regions. In Kyrgyzstan, the party’s emissaries not only operate in the south, but also in the north of the republic, in such large cities as Bishkek, Kara-Balta, and Tokmak.28 In Tajikistan, in the past two years alone, the republic’s Interior Ministry has intercepted the underground activity of almost 150 of its activists. In Uzbekistan, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan was created in 1996, which the U.S. State Department included on the list of international terrorist organizations. As for Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, extremism with a religious bent has still not become widespread at all.
On the whole, the Central Asian countries have been unable to prevent export of the idea of Islamic extremism, which is becoming a significant destabilizing factor for almost all the states in the region. This cannot help but concern India, which considers Islamic fundamentalism a threat to its state integrity since it recognizes the close tie between religious extremism and international terrorism. For example, Delhi has accused Islamabad on more than one occasion of financially supporting terrorists and religious extremists who want to separate the state of Jammu and Kashmir from India, on which, according to information from the Indian mass media, more than US$200 million have been spent in the last ten years.29
“Under pressure of the war on terrorism that has engulfed India and is the latest phase of its unresolved crises with Pakistan and due to its rising economic and strategic profile throughout Asia, India has launched new policy initiatives in Central Asia and beyond,” notes Stephen Blank, an expert at the Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College.30 At present, Delhi recognizes the need to create an integrated strategy for ensuring stability in the region, which would prevent a threat to the country’s interests. This strategy is being implemented by means of investments in a stable infrastructure that is linking India with the Central Asian countries and ensuring the development of long-term and stable commercial relations.
1 See: U. Kasenov, “Novaia ‘bolshaia igra’ v Tsentralnoi Azii?” Tsentral’naia Aziia, No. 2, 1997, p. 51.
3 See: “Opening Remarks of Prime Minister Vajpayee at a Press Conference,” 5 June, 2002 [http://www.indianembassy.org/special/cabinet/Primeminister/2002/pm_june_05_2002.htm].
4 See: Kompas, ITAR-TASS, No. 43, 1996, p. 22.
5 See: S. Thomas, “Silk Route Diplomacy. World Wide: Jaswant Singh Lifts Ties with Strategically Important Central Asian Countries,” The Week, 13 June, 1999 [http://www.the-week.com/99jun13/events2.htm].
6 Due to its “neutral status,” Turkmenistan did not participate in the military phase of the antiterrorist campaign, but allowed humanitarian aid to be shipped through its territory to Afghanistan.
7 “Situatsia v Afganistane i problemy regional’noi bezopasnosti v Tsentral’noi Azii” [http://www.uzstrateg.info/], 12 June, 2002.
8 See: R. Maitra, “Indian Military Shadow over Central Asia,” Asia Times, 10 September, 2002 [http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/DI10Df01.html].
9 See: “India i SShA vyskazalis’ za sodeistvie normalizatsii situatsii v Afganistane,” Gazeta Ru, 30 October, 2002.
10 See: The Economist, 7 September, 2002.
11 As a Delhi representative stated at the International Conference on Ensuring Security and Stability in Central Asia held in December 2001 in Bishkek, more than 8,500 servicemen and 61,000 civilians have been killed as a result of terrorist acts over the past 15 years.
12 Poonam Mann, “Fighting Terrorism: India and Central Asia” [http://www.idsa-india.org/an-feb-6-01.htm].
13 Indian Express, 19 May, 2000.
14 Associated Press, 3 February, 2003 [http://www.ap.com].
15 See: “India Is Going through Tajikistan to Central Asia,” German Wave Radio, 13 April, 2003 [http://uzland.narod.ru/2003/april/14/01.htm].
18 CNA, 29 October, 2002.
19 See: A. Sirotin, “Narkotiki iz Afganistana,” Chaika, No. 1 (17), 2002 [http://www.chayka.org/article.php?id=363].
20 See: “International Narcotics Control Strategy Report-2002, March 2003” [http://www.state.gov/g/inl/rls/nrcrpt/2002/html/17949.htm].
21 See: “Iz zony tranzita—v poias bezopasnosti” [http://jahon.mfa.uz/ARHIV/2002/12/26122002.htm], 26 December, 2002.
22 See: Nash kontinent, No. 10 (48), 23 May-5 June, 2001 [http://www.continent.kz/2001/10/17.html].
23 The UNODCCP headquarters is in Vienna (Austria), and the regional representative office of this structure in Central Asia is in Tashkent (Uzbekistan).
25 See: R. Devraj, “India: Worry Over Growing Influx of Drugs,” IPS, 22 February, 2002; [http://www.oneworld.org/ips2/feb01/11_10_037.html], 12 February, 2002.
26 See: Izvestia, 20 April, 2002.
27 See: O. Moldaliev, “Islamism and International Terrorism: A Threat of Islam or a Threat to Islam?” Central Asia and the Caucasus, No. 3 (15), 2002, p. 93.
28 See: Yu. Morozov, “Perekroika politicheskoi karty?” Asia i Afrika segodnia, No. 7, 2002.
29 RIA “Novosti,” 10 September, 2001.
30 See: S. Blank, “India and Central Asia: The Return of Strategy,” Central Asia—Caucasus Analyst, Wednesday, 11 September, 2002 [http://www.cacianalyst.org/Archives.htm].