India - Central Asia Relations: A Historical Study

Daljeet Singh


Central Asia is a buffer between Russia and China. India’s political history has been shaped by events in Central Asia. The region had been a staging ground for invasions into India. The Central Asian dynamics vis-à-vis Indian strategic thought has been mentioned in Kautilya’s Arthashastra. Central Asia was also a bridge for promoting Indian commerce and culture across Asia through the famous Silk Route.

            India’s ties with Central Asia waned during mid-nineteenth century. Even though relations were revived in the years following independence, they remained tepid. Indian presence in Central Asia was characterized by its closeness to the Kremlin following the Sino-Indian border conflict of 1962. India also managed to get a cultural anchor in the region under the Indo-Soviet Friendship Treaty of 1971. India’s foreign policy discourse away from Nehruvian idealism towards realism and pragmatism towards the region.

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