India in the Context of the New Silk Road and the Middle Corridor

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One of the economic and foreign policy objectives of Turkiye is the development of the Middle Corridor on the New Silk Road route and thus becoming a logistics base in the terrestrial East-West trade via Eurasia and being a center in the supply chain....

One of the economic and foreign policy objectives of Turkiye is the development of the Middle Corridor on the New Silk Road route and thus becoming a logistics base in the terrestrial East-West trade via Eurasia and being a center in the supply chain. In addition, Turkiye's role as an energy trade center should be strengthened. In this context, it is regarded as a priority goal that aims to become a key country in East-West Trade by making use of other alternatives over Eurasia, such as the Middle Corridor.

While analyses generally focus on China, it is also essential to develop cooperation with India, which is the 5th largest economy and is expected to become the most populous country in the world. It should not be forgotten that in the context of continental East-West Trade corridor passing through Eurasia, India should be an alternative partner country in its projects and investments. While the uncertain outlook of the World Economy continues, India is one of the countries where positive growth is generally expected in the next few years. Thus, Turkiye will also have to develop with India in the context of long term economic cooperation and involvement in Eurasian trade.

INTRODUCTION:

While the uncertainties surrounding the global economy brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic , the Russia-Ukraine War and the bank failures at the beginning of 2023 have still not been overcome, growth in South Asia and Pacific especially in India, is expected in the coming years. Changes in global trade and delays in strategic bottlenecks such as the Suez Canal have highlighted the importance of alternatives. Creation or development of alternative options by diversifying these trade routes in order to reduce vulnerability in supply chains and to create different trade routes around the world is necessary for risk management. Thus while reaching the economies of South Asia and the Asia-Pacific, particularly China and India, in addition to the maritime routes, it is also necessary to develop land (terrestrial) routes. Being one of the terrestrial routes, the international logistics routes on the New Silk Road, both with its highway and railway lines, will gain increasing importance in the coming years.

China and India are two Asian economies that are in growth above both population and economy. Turkiye's Asian Re-opening (Asia Anew) is also effective in this context. Many countries, including Turkiye, are moving rapidly in order to turn to the Indian, Chinese and Asian markets. One of the economic and foreign policy objectives of Turkiye is the development of the Middle Corridor on the New Silk Road route, becoming a logistics base in the terrestrial East-West trade via Eurasia and being a center in the shipping chain. In addition, Turkiye's role as an energy trade center should be strengthened. In this context, alternatives through Eurasia such as the Middle Corridor will also be evaluated. In this context, one of the options that has not been sufficiently addressed yet is the possible task of cooperation with India. Considering that the 'Great Game' in Eurasia historically has been with the Indian market, it is possible that the relationship with Eurasia may be with European and Western countries, even Russia and China, in various investments and projects, as well as cooperation opportunities with India.

In this analysis, first of all, geopolitical rivalries in Eurasia will be discussed. In the second world, India's increasing role in the global economy will be evaluated. It will be examined how the third country Turkiye and India can develop a joint cooperation in general but especially on the routes on the New Silk Road. In the conclusion, it will be mentioned that Turkiye can expand its economic cooperation with India, while managing it with a similar approach to the policies followed in other regions.

1. NEW NEW GREAT GAME IN EURASIA

In recent years, trade with China has come to the fore in the New Silk Road routes and the 'New Great Game' discourses, especially over Central Asia and Eurasia. However, what should not be ignored is the importance of India, which will be the second economy in the region for now and perhaps the largest economy in the coming years. As a matter of fact, in the 19th century, India was considered the crown of the British Empire and most valuable possession. For this reason, the Great Game is one of the names given to the British-Russian imperialist rivalry in 19th century over Eurasia at that time. Historian like Peter Hopkirk (1990) examine the imperial rivalries in Asia during the 19th century. While tracing the Anglo-Russian rivalry, in the 20th century and early 21st century, historians suggest they could observe a similar new great game by the turn of the new millennium.

Based on a similar competition over the access to markets and resources concept in the late 20th century and 21st century, such observations were also made by other analysts of more recent events. The competition for access to energy resources in Central Asia at the beginning was called the New Big Game (Kleveman, 2003). Especially due to the attempts to revive the historical Silk Road (an attempt that emerged in the 21st century), The New Great Game is important not only in terms of energy resources, but also in terms of international trade routes in general. The concept of the New Great Game at the beginning of the 21st century emphasized a game focused more on access to energy raw materials mainly found in Central Asia. Especially in recent years, and especially upon the focus on trade routes and access through the New Silk Road, the "New New Great Game" focuses on creating an alternative route to the international transportation and logistics routes of the region and beyond, rather than exclusively accessing these energy related resources.

In the alternative routes on the New Silk Road, the One Belt One Road or Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) comes to the fore. However, China's presence both in the Middle East and in many parts of the world (especially Africa) becomes more competitive with the EU as well as the USA (Sidlo 2020). BRI project is not racing ahead in some places, on account of fears of debt trap, as in many countries in Africa, or observable in Sri Lanka. It must be underlined that the BRI is just one of the alternatives on the New Silk Road and that not all routes on the New Silk Road are part of the BRI. For this reason, the importance of diversification will increase, especially diversification options with India, which is another important actor with a population and economy close to the region. It would be a mistake to view creating an alternative as purely competitive and a step towards China and Russia, because the goal is to develop more trade with the Asian continent, including with India and China. Creating alternatives, beyond being competitive, also aims to create alternative routes in order to avoid problems in the world supply chain and logistics shipments in the face of extraordinary situations. Therefore, alternative routes beyond the competitive environment should be seen as a kind of risk management leverage for all actors. As a growing market in the global economy, India is not only a route alternative, but also an alternative major actor, which is becoming increasingly important both as a major market and as a supplier.

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