The geopolitical certainties in the region and

The Great Game is an acronym that
was put forward in the 19th century and promoted by
Rudyard Kipling in his 1901 novel Kim. The sole aim was to explain the struggle
between the British and Russian Empires over Afghanistan that prolonged to bordering
countries in Central and South Asia1.
It included persistent tenses relations of Russia and Britain while playing on
the Central Asian chessboard; number of conflicts emerged. A precise insight of
the new great game would differentiate it from the older great game as it
features number of players, the complexity and opportunity and the
multi-dimensionality of their relations. The location of Central Asia had been
the epicenter of 19th century imperial conflict between British Empire and Soviet
Union in past.  It has been the
chessboard of imperial opposition that used to exist between British and
Russian empires created by their imperialist polices. So there used to be tough
struggle for power between British and Tsarist Russia in order to have an
influence Central Asia due to its location at crossroads of ancient
civilizations (Indus and Oxus) and silk route. The importance of Central Asia didn’t
reduce even in the New Great Game; however its dimension was altered. The
breakup of Soviet Union totally transformed the geopolitical certainties in the
region and in the global politics as the new five Central Asian states;
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan were born out
of Soviet. However, Central Asia clearly has developed itself and will gradually
emerge as a key global geopolitical ground. Many analysts believe that the
Great Game has returned but this time with new players. Central Asia as per geopolitical
philosophy of Mackinder is the Heartland of the global politics.2
The Great Game has reemerged under the preface of New Great Game with new ideas,
new methods, new players and new tactics led by contradictory objectives and goals.
Post-Soviet changes are influenced by a range of national and global aspects. Latest
geopolitical studies that mainly emphasize on Central Asia echo such notions
that existed long before the formation of the USSR. The competitive situation
in Central Asia is fashioned mainly by two larger dynamics that occasionally join,
interconnect, congregate, or collide. One of the aspect that Central Asia is a
chessboard is shaped by outsiders as Central Asia is a cauldron of large actors
that involves not only China and India but also the United States, the Gulf States,
Turkey, and to some level, Europe. Russia’s strategic benefits in the region still
exist and they have increased as the existence of other entities has become
more distinct. Central Asia perhaps stands on the edge of insightful strategic fluctuation
in the decade to come. Though is unknown that how these changes would affect
the region in future. Most spectators of Central Asia usually claim that the
region’s stability is risky.  Conventional
security glitches engrained in border tussles, race over water and mineral
resources, universal areas and ethnic subgroups, generate possibility of
conflict in the region and are considered as existential dangers by the
majority of the indigenous inhabitants.


The resurgence
of Great Game:

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There were three aspects that amassed
importance to the Central Asian states in the Global Politics. First one is the
geographical position of the region as it is the landlocked area with no coastal
area. That’s why it requires well established land routes for access to other
countries for which it relies on its neighbors with access to oceans.3
The second aspect is the familiarity of the region to the vital global powers
such as Russia and China. Lastly these States have abundant energy resources
such as natural gas and oil. These three aspects have a significant part in starting
the fresh stage of the Great Game in Central Asia. Until 11 September 2001, the
United States was generally assumed to have no vital interests in Central Asia.
Even the emphasis to Caspian energy after the collapse of the Soviet Union did
not considerably transformed Central Asia’s low standing in American strategic preferences
and public realization.4
Although American trade with the region was on the rise due to which American
oil industries hurried to join the global oil associations, which were
developed in or around the Caspian basin, Central Asia was at one hand was
becoming very important to the US economy. The growth of inadequate dogmatic
and military dealings with former Soviet republics did very less to modify this
picture. Therefore, it was also expected that no American leader would send its
combat military to Central Asia or undertake long-standing pledges that had grave
costs for the South Caucasus, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey and China’s
Xinjiang province, which together forms greater Central Asia.  Certainly, not only the world observes the
decline in Western hard power, but also in soft power. Ever since Donald Trump
became the president of US, Due to his isolationist approach, many
uncertainties can be witnessed in this new global disorder, the increasing sidelining
of Europe on the universal stage would appear as a certainty. The New Age Silk
Road and Maritime Course, or OBOR is on the rise as EU is unscrambling. In divergence
to the falling existence and impact of the European Union, the Shanghai
Cooperation Organization (SCO), of which Kazakhstan was a founding affiliate in
1996 alongside China, Russia, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, is escalating in power.
Meanwhile Russia  joined by Central Asian
states has agreed, with the prominent exclusion of Uzbekistan to allow the
CSTO, Moscow’s military alliance with Central Asia, to make the democratic measures
of conquest of internal disturbances within Central Asia, i.e. it is to be
Russia’s and to a much lesser extent, Central Asia’s gendarmerie in the region.5 As
a consequence of these aspects the continuous great power opposition for
influence in Central Asia, great and middle power opposition has progressively deepened
over the past few years due the following motives which include the aspects mentioned
above. Likewise, with the World trade organization possibly to remain declining
and the demise of the US driven mega-regionals (TPP and TTIP), perhaps much
more devotion should be given to the Regional Economic Cooperation
Partnership.  The Central Asian
administrations are working to use transformed exterior participation to their
autonomous benefit, fending off troublesome strains and strengthening their
political control at their native states. Consequently, the case of Central
Asia today is not a regression to the past but a guide to the future outcome:
the emergence of new players and the weakening of Western impact in a
multipolar world.


However Central Asia is currently on
the edge of main and philosophical strategic variations many of which stem from
the dynamics of this new great game. These eminent alterations originate from
the external factors such as the US extraction from Afghanistan by 2014, well
known corresponding and parallel regional and global changing paradigms like
the rise of China and India as potential powers, weakening of Europe, the importance
of energy and of the competitions to gain an access to it, Islamic
self-assertion that takes numerous religious and often ferocious methods especially
in Afghanistan, Indo-Pakistani conflict, Russia’s endless exploration for a
neo-colonial authority in Central Asia, which has been many times articulated
in Vladimir Putin’s call for a Eurasian union and the absence of any regional synchronization
among Central Asian states themselves6.
Secondly at the same time, every Central Asian country’s local supremacy has
become an issue of global concern because of the huge corruption, environmental
and infrastructural mishandling, fascism, repression and the widespread fear of
a likely Islamist insurgency. These widespread pathologies lie at the essence
of these states that are helpless to Islamic radicalism or to any other
specific forms that interior disturbance might take place due to that mismanagement
and the consequent degradation of public, financial, and environmental circumstances.7 At
last the Arab spring, although seems unlikely that’s its influence would spread
anytime to Central Asia as most analysts seem to feel, Yet the Arab crises has worried
both Central Asian and Russian authorities about the stability of their regimes.
Therefore on April 13, 2011 Russia’s nervousness about the likelihood of the
Arab revolutions spreading towards Central Asia was an important subject of a
public debate in the Duma. Members of the Duma along with Deputy Foreign
Minister Grigory Karasin recommended these states to make suitable reforms by learning
from Arab Crisis or they would be brushed away like North African or Arab


Greater Central Asia is likely to be
prone to volatility caused by the external imperialist forces for the probable
future for a many reasons. If the United States wants to lessen the load and dangers
of engagement, it must gather the backing of its partners, particularly given
the lack of robust public support within the United States for diplomacy and
nation-building operations in war-torn states. Russia despite its
disintegration remains a nation with an unmatched ancient experience and
cultural capital for soothing the unstable regions from the Balkans to Central
Asia. During the Soviet era, the central Asian states shared external borders, clashed
with the same rivals, and were subject to related linguistic and cultural plans.
Problems that are faced in the Central Asian region need critical consideration
by the regional and global organizations with the countries involved; nevertheless,
reaching a global accord is even more composite due to the variety of benefits
and assets bestowed there.8
Central Asian nations are facing many interior challenges as they lead the region
towards the state crumbling, exposing it to the threat of terrorism, crime
radicalization, and other problems such as flow of refugees. They are also confronting
the risk of radicalism, crime and drugs. Stability
of the region can only be attained by if central Asian region is linked to the global
economy with the Russian and Chinese support it would be possible.9 Whatever
form the emerging new global “order” will take obviously remains to be seen,
but in the process, Central Asia generally will be a key space to watch and
from which to watch.