Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a man of missions. Be it the 3-nation tour of Canada, Germany and France, or the one with high political agendas in China or Japan, the Modi wave has hit the right shores at the right time.
While 'Make in India' has been the main focus of the Indian premier in all his tours, the current venture in Central Asia and Russia will have a different agenda altogether-Energy, tourism and China.
'Connect Central Asia'
Mentioned first in 2012, Modi hasn't forgotten his promise of connecting Central Asia, which aims at building up political, security, economic and cultural ties between India and Central Asia.
Modi was in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan on July 6 and 7 respectively and has now headed Russia for the BRICS/SCO Summit. Apart from the economic and political inroads into the region, India has the cultural connect in mind.
Precisely why Uzbekistan got the first priority. The founder of the Mughal Empire, Babur, was born in Ferghana valley and the Silk Road that was the major trading route in Central Asia passed through the cities of Bukhara and Samarkand in Uzbekistan.
The Kazakh and Turk connect
Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan talks will have energy as the topmost agenda, followed by counterterrorism. The idea for the TAPI gas pipeline had originated in Turkmenistan, even while Russia has decreased the amount of gas it imports from Turkmenistan. China, however, has increased the imports of gas from the country. Turks now look for diversification to Europe and India.
Tazikistan may be a weak energy resource and trading link for India, but is a key military partner. In 2002, India built the Farkhor Air Base, south of the Tajik capital at the site of an abandoned Soviet air base, enabling a watch on the Pakistani frontiers. Hence, the main focus here would be on the threat of terrorism.
Modi's final stop will be Kyrgystan, also a military link as the two countries engaged themselves in an exercise outside Bishkek. Kyrgyzstan's deputy chief of the general staff, Zhanybek Kaparov had said,"It's very important to cooperate with the armed forces of India to fight together against extremism and terrorism."
Will Modi's tour bring a closure to the 'Central Asia' mission
In order to bring it to a proper closure, Modi needs to do a lot more, especially with the ever looming threat from China and Russia, who not take India's closeness to USA lightly. Indeed, a mission in Central Asia will be incomplete without looping these two countries in.