', 'auto');ga('send', 'pageview');
Join us   Log in   editor@ejsss.net.in  



Pages: 91-111

Afghanistan as a Land Bridge between Central Asia and South Asia for Economic Cooperation: Challenges and Opportunities

Masom Jan Masomy

Category: International Relations

Download PDF


Energy Security is important for healthy economy of any country. Thus countries try to have long term and stable arrangements to meet their energy requirements. Undoubtedly Central Asia is a rich source for energy. However, ease of transportation is a connected issue. Accordingly, the Energy-rich Central Asia has been making attempts to have access to global markets through land and sea from the time nations in the region gained independence from erstwhile USSR. South Asia, on the other hand, is energy starved and is keen to have access to plenty of natural resources of Central Asia through bilateral and multilateral relations with the five CARs. Therefore, the regional connectivity between Central Asia and South Asia has been a top issue in the recent two decades despite various challenges and geopolitical constraints. Benefits of enhanced connectivity are obvious: Access to ports in South Asia would energize the economies of CAR nations, while connectivity with fast-developing South Asia would expand market opportunities mutually.

In this paper, the ancient cultural and trade ties between South Asia and Central Asia and the current demands of connectivity have been discussed based on ancient historic links and geopolitics of the region. The role of Afghanistan as a land bridge in the region has been analyzed to provide for regional economic integration between Central Asia and South Asia. Also, it has been pointed out to that the common challenges need to be removed and the opportunities need to be availed for multilateral partnership and for economic cooperation and development between the two regions.

Keywords: CAR, Connectivity, South Asia, Afghanistan, Cultural ties, Economic integration


Adnan, M., & Fatima, B. (2015). Strategic and economic interests of Pakistan and India in Central Asia. A Research Journal of South Asian Studies. 30 (3), 187-200.

Archiwal. (2019). Overwhelming majority of Afghans has a positive perception of India. A. Ranjan (ed.), India in South Asia, (pp. 123-131). https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-13-2020-0_8

Asian Asia relations. International Journal of Research in Social Sciences, 8 (3), p. 16, Retrieved Development Bank, (2010). Central Asia Atlas for natural resources. Retrieved November 3, 2020, from Asian Development Bank Website: https://www.adb.org/publications/central-asia-atlas-natural-resources

Bhat, A. A., Mubarik, M., & Kushwaha, R. P. (2018). Afghanistan factor in India-Central from https://www.ijmra.us/project%20doc/2018/IJRSS_MARCH2018/IJMRA-13386.pdf

Chapman, G. P. (2009). The geopolitics of South Asia from early empires to the nuclear age: Securing the empire (3 rd.). Retrieved from https://b-ok.asia/book/1000034/ab50a

Chaudhury, D. R. (2019, January 19). India inks deal to get uranium supply from Uzbekistan. The Economic Times. Retrieved November 8, 2020, from https:///m.economictimes.com/news/defence/india-inks-deal-to-get-uranium-supply-from-uzbekistan/articleshow/67596635.cms

Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat. (n.d.). TAPI-TAP: Regional economic cooperation corridor. Retrieved November 10, 2020, from https://main.dabs.af/News/NewsDetail/1353

Danish, Z. (2017). Afghanistan; connectivity chapter in the region. Retrieved November 8, 2020, from https://ocs.gov.af/en/article_details/139

Dhaka, A. (n.d.). South Asia and Central Asia: Geopolitical dynamics: the geopolitical theory. Jaipur, India: Mangal Deep Publications Jaipur.

Fair, C.C. (2008). Pakistan's Relations with Central Asia: Is Past Prologue?, Journal of Strategic Studies, 31(2), 201-227, https://doi.org/10.1080/01402390801940344

Haidari, M. A. (2018, January 26). A peaceful Afghanistan key to regional connectivity in South and Central Asia. The Diplomat. Retrieved November 12, 2020, from https://thediplomat.com/2018/01/a-peaceful-afghanistan-key-to-regional-connectivity-in-south-and-central-asia/

Hindustan Times. (2016, May 24). India, Iran and Afghanistan sign Chabahar port agreement. Hindustan Times. Retrieved November 11, 2020, from https://www.hindustantimes.com/india/india-iran-afghanistan-sign-chabahar-port-agreement/story-2EytbKZeo6zeCIpR8WSuAO.html

India Today. (2019, January 8). Chabahar port begins commercial operations: Why Iran’s port is important for India. India Today. Retrieved November 11, 2020 from https://www.indiatoday.in/education-today/gk-current-affairs/story/india-takes-over-operations-chabahar-port-iran-importance-1426057-2019-01-08

Javed, F., & Dashti, A. A. (2016). Relations between Pakistan and Central Asian Republics: An analysis. Maarif Research Journal. (11),Pp. 67-78

Kaushiki, N. (2013). The New Great Game and India's Connect Central Asia Policy: Strategic Perspectives and Challenges. Journal of International and Area Studies, 20(2), 83-100. Retrieved November 3, 2020, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/43107259

Khan, I. (1998). Afghanistan: A geopolitical study. Central Asian Survey, 17 (3), 489-502. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/02634939808401049

Kothari, R. K. (2018). India’s strategic interests in Central Asia in the Post-Soviet years: Expanding vistas of partnership. Asian Journal of Political Science. 4 (1), Pp. 23-32.

McCauley, M. (2002). Afghanistan and central Asia a modern history: Afghanistan. London, England: Pearson Education Limited.

Menon, R., & Rajiv, S. (2019). Realizing India’s strategic interests in Central Asia. Retrieved November 5, 2020, from https://carnegieindia.org/2019/12/01/realizing-india-s-strategic-interests-in-central-asia-pub-80576

Ministry of Mines and Petroleum. (2018). TAPI project. Retrieved November 9, 2020, from https://momp.gov.af/tapi-project

Mohan C Raja (2001), The Hindu, Afghanistan as a land bridge , Retrieved from: https://www.mea.gov.in/articles-in-indian-media.htm?dtl/18382/Afghanistan+as+a+land+bridge (accessed on 21 Apr 2021)

Pajhwok, (2020, February 6). Ghani inaugurates CASA-1000 project implementation. Pajhwok News Agency. Retrieved November 10, 2020, from https://www.pajhwok.com/en/2020/02/06/ghani-inaugurates-casa-1000-project-implementation

RECCA, (n.d.). Central Asia and South Asia (CASA-1000). Retrieved November 9, 2020, from http://recca.af/?page_id=1466

Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan. (2017). Deepening connectivity and expanding through investment and infrastructure and improving synergy: 2017. Retrieved November 9, 2020, from http://recca.af/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Digital-RECCA-Annual-Review-2017-11-04-2018.pdf

Saeedi, T., & Kadyrova, R. (2018, February 26). Start of a new corridor – TAPI, TAP500, TAP fiber optic link, rail way. News Central Asia. Retrieved November 10, 2020, from http://www.newscentralasia.net/2018/02/26/start-of-a-new-corridor-tapi-tap500-tap-fiber-optic-link-railway-line/

Safi, M., & Alizada, B. (2019, April 19). Afghanistan: Prospects and challenges to regional connectivity. The Diplomat. Retrieved November 12, 2020, from https://thediplomat.com/2019/04/afghanistan-prospects-and-challenges-to-regional-connectivity/

Saleem, A. (2018). Central and South Asian Energy Projects: Prospects and Challenges for Pakistan. Strategic Studies, 38 (3), 57-71. doi:10.2307/48539384

Siyar, S. (2018, February 24). All you need to know about TAPI project. Tolo News. Retrieved November 9, 2020, from https://tolonews.com/afghanistan/all-you-need-know-about-tapi-project

Sofi, M. D. (2019, January 15). The dynamics of Pakistan-Central Asia engagement. Daily Sabah. Retrieved November 9, 2020, from https://www.dailysabah.com/op-ed/2019/01/15/the-dynamics-of-pakistan-central-asia-engagement

Tolo. (2015, April 25). CASA-100 project signed. Tolo News. Retrieved November 10, 2020, from https://tolonews.com/business/casa-1000-project-signed-promising-major-revenues-afghanistan

DOI: 10.47362/EJSSS.2021.2113

DOI URL: https://doi.org/10.47362/EJSSS.2021.2113