Planes and pipedreams: India in Central Asia

In a [Eurasianet commentary](, Stephen Blank asks what impact India’s Central Asian expansion will have on its relations with Pakistan.

On the one hand, India is moving into Ayni air-base in Tajikistan, where they will station 12-14 MiG-29 planes. That’ll let them threaten Pakistan from the rear, which won’t do much to build up confidence.

On the other hand, they’re getting involved in several energy projects which might bind South Asia closer together. Two potential pipelines from Iran and Turkmenistan will both pass through Afghanistan and Pakistan, and India is also keen on [America’s REMAP plan](, which will build energy links between Central and South Asia, while excluding Russia and China. So in the future a war with Pakistan might require India to throw away its energy security, and hence a chunk of its economy.

Or at least, that’s the argument. No doubt there is somewhere an academic literature on whether pipeline-building really does improve peace prospects; I’d be interested to track it down one day.

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