New Delhi, November 15 (KMS): Turkey’s inking of a broad-based military framework agreement with Uzbekistan, the most populous and strategically situated of the five Central Asian States, has frustrated India because of the fear of Pakistan joining the agreement anytime in future.
A fresh article written by Sandeep Dikshit in Tribune India says, “After becoming another Dubai in promoting anti-India influence operations in Kashmir, Turkey may soon pose another headache for Indian strategists with its forays in Central Asia. In addition to being at odds with each other on Kashmir, Turkey and India are supporting opposite sides in the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia.”
The article goes on as: “Turkey’s inking of a broad-based military framework agreement with Uzbekistan, the most populous and strategically situated of the five Central Asian countries, could become another irritant in their bilateral relations because it will bring Pakistan in the wake.”
“Ankara’s increased security and defence proximity with Tashkent would rub against India’s attempt to promote a partnership with Uzbekistan to utilise Iran’s India-run Chabahar port for trade in Afghanistan and Central Asia.”
Chabahar is merely 200 km from the Gwadar port at the tail-end of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
The Indian newspaper adds: “Turkey and Pakistan have been moving on the world stage in tandem, as has been seen by their similar sounding statements on Kashmir.”
“External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had hit back after Erdogan had weighed in on Kashmir during his speech at the UN General Assembly’s segment in September.”
“The Turkish-Pakistani solidarity on Kashmir has been bolstered by their partnership in militarily backing Azerbaijan in its war on Armenia which, on the other hand, is supported by India and Russia.”
The article goes on to further add: “Indian planners will be forced to recalculate if Turkey manages to operationalise its defence agreement with Uzbekistan, especially in the areas of intelligence sharing, joint exercises, training and logistics cooperation. Two intelligence reports had last year pointed out Turkish influence operations in the subcontinent as it seeks a greater footprint among Muslims beyond West Asia.”
“The defence agreement with Uzbekistan, apprehend sources, is part of that desire but it has the probability of catering to the interest of its sole regional ally Pakistan as well,” the article writes.