Comparing the Economic Involvement of China and India in Post-Soviet Central Asia

  • SÉbastien Peyrouse
Part of the The Sciences Po Series in International Relations and Political Economy book series


The assertion that Central Asia has become a field of economic competition between China and India is based on a prospective approach. The potential of the two countries is indeed to be competitive, but economic realities show that it is not the case at the end of the first decade of the twenty-first century. Comparisons between India and China in Central Asia, though legitimate in the geopolitical logic of power projection, is less relevant in the economic realm, the comparison being valid only over the medium or long terms, 2020 to 2030. Indeed, for the time being, except for hydrocarbons, where the Indian and Chinese companies have already come to terms, China largely dominates all the other areas. A comparison of trade flows shows that the total trade between China and Central Asia exceeded 18 billion euros in 2008, whereas between India and Central Asia, it was only 247 million euros, or 1.37 percent of that of its competitor (see table 11.1). India is the sixteenth most important trading partner for Uzbekistan and the twenty-second for Tajikistan, while China is almost always in the top three with Russia and the European Union. It is the largest trading partner of Kyrgyzstan, the second largest of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, third for Kazakhstan, and seventh for Turkmenistan, a figure expected to rise in 2010–2011 with the arrival of the first flow of Turkmen gas to Xinjiang.


Indian Company Chinese Firm Silk Road Indian Space Research Organization China National Petroleum Corporation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 3.
    Sh. Shuja, “China’s Energy Needs and Central Asia”, National Observer, Council for the National Interest, Melbourne, 67 (2006), pp. 56–65.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    D.L.O. Hayward, “China’s Oil Supply Dependence”, The Journal of Energy Security, June 18, 2009.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    Planning Commission; Government of India, Tenth Five-Year Plan (2002–2007), quoted in V. Kumar Bhatia, “India-Kazakhstan Relations: Challenges and Prospects”, Mainstream, vol. XLVII, no. 38, September 5, 2009.Google Scholar
  4. 6.
    S. Peyrouse, “Chinese Economic Presence in Kazakhstan: China’s Resolve and Central Asia’s Apprehension”, China Perspectives, no. 3, 2008, pp. 55–75.Google Scholar
  5. 10.
    J. Šír, S. Horák, “China as an Emerging Superpower in Central Asia: The View from Ashkhabad”, The China and Eurasia Forum Quarterly, vol. 6, no. 2, 2008, pp. 75–88.Google Scholar
  6. 11.
    S. Moore, “Peril and Promise: A Survey of India’s Strategic Relationship with Central Asia”, Central Asian Survey, vol. 26, no. 2, 2007, pp. 279–291.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 12.
    R. Dwivedi, “China’s Central Asia Policy in Recent Times”, The China and Eurasia Forum Quarterly, vol. 4, no. 4, 2006, pp. 139–159.Google Scholar
  8. 18.
    Irina Komissina, “Will India Become a Full-fledged Participant in the Big Game in Central Asia?” Central Asia and the Caucasus, no. 1, 2008.Google Scholar
  9. 19.
    See F. Starr (ed.), The New Silk Roads: Transport and Trade in Greater Central Asia (Washington: Central Asia-Caucasus Institute, 2007).Google Scholar
  10. 20.
    S. Peyrouse, “The Economic Aspects of the Chinese-Central-Asia Rapprochement”, Silk Road Papers (Washington: Central Asia and Caucasus Institute), September 2007.Google Scholar
  11. 21.
    S. Peyrouse, “The Growing Trade Stakes of the Chinese-Kyrgyz-Uzbek Railway Project”, Central Asia and Caucasus Analyst, March 11, 2009.Google Scholar
  12. 22.
    S. Peyrouse, “The Hydroelectric Sector in Central Asia and the Growing Role of China”, The China and Eurasia Forum Quarterly, vol. 5, no. 2, 2007, pp. 131–148.Google Scholar
  13. 23.
    V. Vucetic and V. Krishnaswamy, Development of Electricity Trade in Central Asia-South Asia Region (Washington: World Bank, 2005).Google Scholar
  14. 26.
    World Bank, Central Asia Regional Electricity Export Potential Study (Washington: World Bank, December 2004), p. 35.Google Scholar
  15. 29.
    G. Sachdeva, “India”, in F. Starr (ed.), The New Silk Roads: Transport and Trade in Greater Central Asia (Washington: Central Asia-Caucasus Institute, 2007), pp. 335–382.Google Scholar
  16. 30.
    E. Koolaee, M. Imani Kalesar, “India’s Energy Security toward the Caspian Sea Region: A Critical Review”, The China and Eurasia Forum Quarterly, vol. 8, no. 1, 2010, pp. 83–94.Google Scholar
  17. 31.
    Kuchins, T. Sanderson, D. Gordon, The Northern Distribution Network and the Modern Silk Road (Washington: CSIS, December 2009).Google Scholar
  18. 32.
    R.M. Levine, G.J. Wallace, “The Mineral Industries of the Commonwealth of Independent States”, in 2005 Mineral yearbook (U.S. Geological Survey, 2007).Google Scholar
  19. 36.
    S. Peyrouse, “China’s Recent Advance in Central Asia”, Central Asia and Caucasus Analyst, December 12, 2008.Google Scholar
  20. 37.
    S. Smirnov, “Kazakh Metallurgy under the Control of International Corporations”, Kazakhstan International Business Magazine, no. 2, 2008, <> (accessed November 4, 2009).Google Scholar
  21. 39.
    S. Shmidke, “Atomnaia promyshlennost’ Kazakhstana: Sovremennoe sostoianie i perspektivy razvitiia”, PIR center, 2006, <>.Google Scholar
  22. 43.
    B. Kaminski, G. Raballand, “Entrepôt for Chinese Consumer Goods in Central Asia: The Puzzle of Re-exports through Kyrgyz Bazaars”, Eurasian Geography and Economics, 2009, vol. 50, no. 5, pp. 581–590.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 44.
    V. Paramonov, A. Strokov, Ekonomicheskoe prisutstvie Rossii i Kitaia v Tsentral’noi Azii (Central Asian Series, Conflict Studies Research Center, Defence Academy of the United Kingdom, Shrivenham, 07/12, 2007), p. 5.Google Scholar
  24. 45.
    M. Laruelle, S. Peyrouse, China as a Neighbor. Central Asian Perspectives and Strategies (Washington: Central Asia-Caucasus Institute, 2009).Google Scholar
  25. 48.
    S. Peyrouse, “Russia and India Face Kazakhstan’s Space Ambitions”, Central Asia and Caucasus Analyst, October 29, 2008.Google Scholar
  26. 49.
    P. Sneha Chrysolite, “IBFI and Republic of Kazakhstan Enter into Education JV”, IT People, December 3, 2001, <> (accessed January 14, 2010).Google Scholar
  27. 53.
    Sathaye, “India Kazakhstan Sign 5 Pacts to Bolster Partnership”, Sarkaritel, January 27, 2008, <> (accessed January 12, 2010).Google Scholar
  28. 56.
    G. Sachdeva, “India’s Attitude towards China’s Growing Influence in Central Asia”, The China and Eurasia Forum Quarterly, vol. 4, no. 3, 2006, pp. 23–34.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Marlène Laruelle, Jean-François Huchet, Sébastien Peyrouse, and Bayram Balci 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • SÉbastien Peyrouse

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations