Regional Processes and Geopolitics of India, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan (IATU)

Date01 June 2018
DOI10.1177/0973598418764939
Published date01 June 2018
Subject MatterArticles
Article
1
Assistant Professor, Centre for Russian and Central Asian Studies, School of International
Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India.
Corresponding author:
Nalin Kumar Mohapatra, Assistant Professor, Centre for Russian and Central Asian
Studies, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India.
E-mail: nalin238@gmail.com
Regional Processes
and Geopolitics of
India, Afghanistan,
Tajikistan, and
Uzbekistan (IATU)
Nalin Kumar Mohapatra1
Abstract
The article attempts to examine the nature of interaction that exists
among India, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan (IATU) and the
need to give an institutional basis to such a relationship spanning across
Central and South Asia. Using some of the existing theoretical frame-
works of regional cooperation, the study argues that even though such
an institutional relationship looks futuristic, it has much relevance in the
present context due to its functional necessity. Some of the factors such
as a ‘common geo-culture’, ‘geo-strategic compulsions’, and ‘economic
necessities’ are providing the basis for the emergence of such kind of
cooperation among these four states.
Keywords
Geo-culture, geopolitics, security community, extended neighbors, Mandala
theory, common economic zone
Jadavpur Journal of
International Relations
22(1) 80–106
2018 Jadavpur University
SAGE Publications
sagepub.in/home.nav
DOI: 10.1177/0973598418764939
http://journals.sagepub.com/home/jnr
Mohapatra 81
Introduction1
Regional cooperation is the lynchpin of the global security order in the
post-1991 phase. Some of the regional organizations that have come up in
the recent years such as Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa (BRICS),
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), and Shanghai Cooperation
Organization (SCO) are examples of this trend. Contemporary geopolitical
dimensions of regional integration showcase an interesting aspect that in
addition to the ‘structural processes’ (where physical proximity is the most
important factor) the ‘functional’ processes of regionalization are also
playing an equally important role (Godehart 2014: 12–13; Knight 1982:
518; Mittelman 1996; Passi 1986: 106–112; Thompson 1973).
India, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan (IATU) can be argued to
be such a futuristic proposition for the model of regional cooperation.
The author argues that despite lack of geographical connectivity (with
India only) and absence of any institutional multilateral forum, a certain
degree of operationalization can give a new impetus to the process of
regional cooperation among these states which would shape the broader
geopolitical framework of South and Central Asia. India being an
emerging global power has the responsibility to bring the other three states
together to form a body which will counteract ‘proliferation of terrorism’,
‘ensure sustainable security’, ‘promote regional economic cooperation’,
and ‘connect’ these landmasses (Kaushik 2010; MEA 2017). The edifice of
the regional cooperation can also be based on ‘shared geo-cultural norms’2
( Breslin and Higgott 2000; Johnston 1995; Lake and Morgan 1997: 10–12;
Passi 1986; Rozov 2012: 17; Wallerstien 1991: 11). The present article will
also analyze the viability of such a type of regional grouping as well its
ramifications on the security situation of these states. Though such form
of a regional cooperation looks quite unrealistic at present, a sense of
1 The basic idea to write this article came when the present author visited Bukhara,
Samarkand, and Tashkent in 2008 and 2009 to participate in International Conference
organized by Institute of Civil Society, Tashkent. The initial idea to develop a ‘normative
framework’ came up when the author interacted with the local population in the bazaars as
well as academia. The author would like to thank Professor Devendra Kaushik (retd) Centre
for Russian and aim Central Asian Studies, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru
University for his constructive suggestions along with two anonymous reviewers.
2 The word ‘geo-culture’ is being employed here to study relations among these four states
in a ‘cultural framework’ (refer, for instance, Wallerstien 1991: 11). Russian Scholar N.S.
Rozov, for instance, argues that geo-culture implies ‘the intersection of two or more social
networks in these centers, with the corresponding cultural traditions; a fruitful combination of
these that opens up new horizons of creative endeavor’ (Rozov 2012: 17).

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