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 Dear SEnECA Friend,
SEnECA consortium partner TEPSA will organize the SEnECA Recommendation Workshop in Brussels on 11 and 12 July, where participants and speakers will discuss recommendations for implementing the new EU-Central Asia Strategy directly with decision-makers from EU institutions and national governments. Researchers from the SEnECA network will also present the SEnECA forecasts for the region and the role of the European Union in 2030.

Furthermore, SEnECA has released four blog posts, touching upon very revealing topics: from India's role in Central Asia to Germany - Uzbekistan relations.

Happy and enlightened reading!
In this Newsletter you will find:
 EVENTS, PUBLICATIONS & MORE from the Consortium
An introduction to our CONSORTIUM MEMBERS
More info ABOUT EU-Central Asia relations

Stay connected with SEnECA:

India’s “knight’s move” to Central Asia
from the SEnECA Blog series

More than 2150 years ago, when the envoy of the Chinese emperor Zhang Qian, the “father-founder” of the Great Silk Road, reached the final point of his journey in the northern Bactria (current South Tajikistan), he was surprised to find that bamboo and other goods from China were available at the local market. This discovery of the famous Chinese traveler shows that ancient India had a trade route towards not only Southern China, but also Bactria, which was the largest region in ancient Transoxiana. In other words, the ancient trade road “from Bactria to India” existed before the discovery of the Great Silk Road.

Currently, when the world superpowers initiate large-scale projects for the revival of the Great Silk Road, India – the homeland of chess – is also starting its own serious game on trade route establishment in Central Asia. Due to the fierce competition with Pakistan, India cannot directly enter the Central Asian region through Afghanistan and has to opt for the “knight's move”.

The logic of the “knight's move” of India implies a direct marine connection between the Mumbai harbor and the Iranian harbor in Chabahar. With the railway (which is rapidly being built),  goods are transferred to Afghanistan and the Central Asian republics, and further to Russia and Europe, in this way bypassing Pakistan through the sea.

The Indian rush towards Central Asia contains not only the trade/economic component, but also covers the following “peacemaking” aspect:

1) Conflict resolution in Afghanistan

The first meeting between the foreign ministers of India and the five Central Asian countries took place in Samarkand in January 2019, organized by the Indian side upon the invitation of the Afghan foreign minister to this meeting (in a "5 + 1 + 1" format). The meeting addressed not only the creation of a trans-Afghan transit zone, but also the regulation of the Afghan crisis. This encounter has led to the creation of various strategies for resolving the long-lasting conflict in the region.

Neither the Soviet nor the NATO attempts to foster reconciliation in Afghanistan have been successful so far. The country remains unstable, which causes concerns among Afghanistan’s nearest neighbors. The above-mentioned ministerial meeting of the Indian Minister, Ms. Svaraj Sushma, with her Central Asian colleagues in Samarkand seems to have become a catalyzer for negotiations in Doha and Moscow.

Two other factors regarding Afghanistan need to be taken into consideration. First, the gradual withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan and the accession of Iran into the SCO in the near future will lead to success of the Indian mediation. Delhi, by having not only good relations with Afghanistan, but also a large amount of experience with resolving conflicts and crises situations non-violently, has more chances to influence the peacemaking process.


The forty-year war in Afghanistan, with an active military intervention of the world superpowers, has completely exhausted the ability of these powers to resolve the conflict. Second, the joint Indian-Central Asian effort to achieve peace and social harmony in Afghanistan is guided by the principle of non-interference in internal affairs of a sovereign state (“panja shila” concept).

2) Involvement of Iran into the process of peace creation in Afghanistan

By entering Central Asia through Iran, India can actively involve this country in the trade-economic relations of the region and the whole Central Asia. The involvement of Iran in Central Asian affairs accelerates this country’ entry into the SCO. Iran’s accession to the SCO (accompanied by a withdrawal of the American (NATO) army from Afghanistan) creates a relatively “peaceful environment” around Afghanistan. Further resolution of the Afghan conflict will depend on this authoritative organization. The SCO can initiate the convocation of an International Conference on Post-Conflict Development and Reconstruction of Afghanistan.

3) Regional economic integration

The gradual peaceful (economic) entry of India into post-Soviet Central Asia will also lead to a softening of the tough competition in the strategic “Russia-China-USA” triangle, and will contribute to its transformation into a stable “Russia-China-India-USA” quadrate. The Central Asian region, which does not have a direct access to the seas, will receive a convenient access to world ports due to the Iranian-Indian efforts to create modern road infrastructures from the harbors of the Indian Ocean.

India is starting its own game with a "knight's move" which will lead to a fundamental change of the strategic configuration in Central Asia.

This is the second entrance of India into Central Asia. 2,000 years ago, peaceful Buddhism was born in India and spread through Central Asia to the whole world. In today’s violent and uncertain world, a new humanistic spirit is needed. That will hopefully be the spirit of Gandhi and the “spirit of non-violence". 


Prof. Dr. Abdughani Mamadazimov 
CSR Zerkalo

Partners from Central Asia:
Institute for Strategic Studies (Kazakhstan)
Center of Sociological Research “Zerkalo” (Tajikistan)
Kyrgyz National University (Kyrgyzstan)
University of World Economy and Diplomacy (Uzbekistan)
Ynanch-Vepa - non-profit organization (Turkmenistan) 

Partners from Europe:
University of Duisburg-Essen (Germany)
Institut für Europäische Politik (Germany)
Centre international de formation européenne (France)
Trans European Policy Studies Association (Belgium)
Royal United Services Institute (United Kingdom)
Latvian Institute of International Affairs (Latvia)
WiseEuropa - think tank (Poland)
SEnECA seeks to improve research cooperation and to strengthen capacities in research and policy advice in the EU and Central Asia, having recognised the importance of Central Asia for Europe.

 SEnECA has four main objectives:

1. to establish an interdisciplinary network of researchers working on Central Asia in Europe and on European integration in Central Asia

 2. to provide recommendations on the revision of the EU-Central Asia Strategy 

3. to deepen existing relations between both regions

4. to promote the relevance of Central Asia to European researchers, policy-makers, media and civil society
SEnECA Recommendation  Workshop 

From 11 to 12 July, the Trans European Policy Studies Association will organise the SEnECA Recommendation Workshop in Brussels. During the event, stakeholders will discuss recommendations for implementing the new EU-Central Asia Strategy directly with decision-makers from EU institutions and national governments. To this end, representatives of relevant EU institutions will present the new Central Asia Strategy as well as the current state of preparations for its implementation to the workshop participants. Against this backdrop, experts from civil society, international organisations, as well as business and academia from both Europe and Central Asia will come together and have the opportunity to comment on the “SEnECA policy recommendations” draft and propose their own recommendations to national and EU decision-makers.

SEnECA Panel at the TEPSA 2019 Finnish Pre-Presidency Conference 

SEnECA organized a panel on the topic of “EU and Russia in Central Asia, Eastern Neighbourhood and Western Balkans” in the framework of the TEPSA Pre-Presidency Conference in Helsinki on 7 June 2019. Julian Plottka (IEP, Germany) participated as a speaker. His intervention can be watched in this link

Policy Paper no. 13 - Central Asia in 2030: SEnECA forecasts for the region and the role of the European Union is out!

SEnECA has released its first recommendation paper which contains a forecasts for Central Asia and the role of the European Union. The paper covers the following three areas: 1. political and economic developments in Central Asian countries, 2. intra-regional cooperation in Central Asia and 3. the EU’s engagement with Central Asia. The analysis is based on semi-structured interviews conducted with experts from the SEnECA network, on a focus group discussion from the SEnECA Scenario Worksop in Almaty (January 2019) and on the analysis of academic and other literature. You can access it here, including the infographic and summary of the paper. 
SEnECA Blog posts

SEnECA has released four blog posts on a variety of topics, from EU and China engagement in Central Asia to pre-historic Turkmenistan. 
SEnECA Photo Exhibition “Daily lives in Central Asia” 

From 4 to 5 April, TEPSA organised the SEnECA Photo Exhibition “Daily lives in Central Asia” at the Centre for Fine Arts “BOZAR” in Brussels. The photos for the exhibition were collected through a photo contest in November 2018, which called for photos depicting daily life in Central Asia. The six winners of the photo contest from Kazakhstan, Germany/Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan were invited to attend the opening of the photo exhibition. The 65 selected photos depicted the remote and beautiful landscapes and cultural richness of Central Asian countries, providing a very diverse picture of day-to-day life in the region. Find more about the SEnECA Photo Exhibition here.
SEnECA is also on Twitter and Facebook: make sure to follow us! Hashtag: #H2020SEnECA 


WiseEuropa Institute is an independent think tank based in Warsaw, undertaking a strategic reflection on European politics, foreign policy and economy. WiseEuropa intends to stimulate and inspire the public debate on the future of Poland and Europe. One of the Institute’s research programmes is dedicated to “Foreign Policy and International Relations”. Within this research programme, a separate line of investigation dedicated to the EU’s relations with Eurasia is carried out under the supervision of Adam Balcer. This research corresponds to the Institute’s task in SEnECA related to the EU’s political relations with Central Asia.

WiseEuropa’s competences also include economic analysis (especially political economy of trade policy), which is relevant for its other tasks in SEnECA that are related to the analysis of the EU’s economic relations with Central Asia...CONTINUE READING



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This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 770256.

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