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Resources & Rivalry in Central Asia Author: Davis Lewis Published in World Policy Journal, 2008 Presented by Akash Jauhari
Agenda Political, Social & Economic Overview. Democracy for Central Asia? Rich in Resources. Geopolitical war in Central Asia. Who is Winning the Game? What do we expect in next 25 years?
Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and TajikistanArea Population Nominal GDP Per Capita Density4 mill Sq Km 61 million $ 166 billion $ 2700 15 /Sq Km All Figures of 2010. Source: World Bank
Inside Central AsiaPolitical Member of Former Soviet – Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan. Had a political uprising in 1990’s for Reforms, eventually suppressed. Continues to be ruled by Autocratic Regimes. Military coups and battle for succession are common. Ranked among least ‘politically free’ nations.Economic & Social Low per capita income and high economic disparity. Degrading Infrastructure and Education System . Poor Employment opportunities, high migration Strong presence of religious extremists and separatists. Author believes that Central Asia is expected to suffer from internal conflicts and poor living standards, at least in near future.
Democracy for Central Asian Nation? Challenges for Democracy in the Region Close Economic & Political ties of Regimes with Western Governments. Give and Take policy with the multinational companies. Lack of Orientation for ‘Democracy’ Government too rich, people too poor Lack of education, awareness and unity Frequent Migration, minimum political participation.Article states that possibility for a democratic Government or Strong Political reforms is some what low, for next 25 years.
Rich in Resources Kazakhstan World’s second largest reserves of Uranium, Chromium & lead Eleventh largest reserves of Oil & Gas, over 2.7 billion tones of oil Third largest reservesbof manganese & fifth largest that of copper. Turkmenistan Second largest Natural Gas reserves. 21 trillion cubic meter. Oil reserves of about 700 million tones. Immense potential for Hydro power. Kyrgyzstan Substantial reserves of Uranium, Coal, Gold and Actinium. Tajikistan Hydro Power potential Aluminum reserves
The Geopolitical Competition Russia European China Union Central Asia United Iran States IndiaPoints of Interest Oil & Gas Minerals like Uranium Strategic Location Internal Security Future Consumer Markets like Kazakhstan
Positions & Strategies United States & European Union 2001 – US sets up Military Base in Kazakhstan & Uzbekistan 2005 – Has a alleged key role in Govt. Overthrow in Georgia, Uzbekistan (-) Not able to convince for Democracy (-) Not popular with religious extremists Why China is so Interested? Energy needs for expanding economy Potential consumer market Development of its far Western Region Urban Migration for Han Chinese Russia Trying to rebuilt the trust Leveraging Immigrants ties & historical and cultural similarities.
Who is Wining the Game? Formation of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) A soft Military alliance China, Russia and the four Central Asia Nations Posing threat to political/military interests of US India, Pakistan & Iran willing to join Economic inter-dependence with China Rapidly growing trading and other economic activities Greater migration and opportunities Leveraging its Global power Author believes that China will be most influential in next 25 years.
So what do we expect in next 25 Years? Central Asia to become a Geopolitical battle field between major powers. Russia losing control to China. Autocratic Regimes to continue. Small political and governance reforms possible. Internal conflicts and religious radicalism to emerge stronger. West to look Central Asia mostly as a source of Oil & Gas. Economic disparity to grow. Few social reforms may take place.