Issues such as the Iran deal, the rise of the self-styled Islamic State, and the spread of Russian military and economic influence continue to highlight the importance of the Caucasus region on the world stage.
Following an initially cool reception, many former USSR republics have been lured by the sheer size of China’s investment in the One Belt One Road project, eager to capitalize on the wider initiative in line with their own domestic interests.
Central Asia has long defied predictions that it might soon harbor violent extremism, but the defection of a senior security official to the self-proclaimed Islamic State points to a crisis in Tajikistan’s governing structures.
In some countries, the government is not a government that may be failing. It’s a criminal organization that’s succeeding.
Among all the possible candidates for membership in the SCO, India and Pakistan seem the most ready for it. If they join the SCO in the near future, this will benefit not only these states, but also the organization itself.
Vladimir Putin will likely see the BRICS summit as proof that the West’s attempts to isolate Russia have failed. However, Russia’s growing fascination with the BRICS and the SCO coincides with diminishing Chinese interest in both projects.
Modi’s trip to Central Asia is a welcome change in India’s relations in the area, but he will need a long-term strategy to overcome the constraints on India’s regional role.
If China and Russia manage to coordinate the Eurasian Economic Union and the Silk Road Economic Belt, the change will mean not only a more genuine partnership between Moscow and Beijing, but China’s arrival, with Russia’s support, as a truly Eurasian power.
The most pressing threat to Kazakhstan’s stability may turn out to be Nazarbayev himself. He is an elderly man who also reportedly suffers from cancer and he has no clear successor.
There is no doubt that Nursultan Nazarbayev will win Kazakhstan’s early presidential elections. He will stay in power for an indefinite number of years to come, and the country will implement its planned reforms under his patronage.