ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Germany in Central Asia

The Ukraine crisis has solidified the Sino-Russian geopolitical alliance. Growing relations between the two will only cement their grip on the Central Asian Republics, pushing Western political and economic engagement with the region to the margins. Germany is taking on more responsibilities in Central Asia, in part to counteract Russia and China’s influence in the region. In addition, in view of the growing transcontinental linkages, it intends to strengthen its position in the newly formed trade and transportation macro region, which runs from the Baltic Sea to the Indian Ocean and from Eastern Europe to Central and East Asia.

The war in Ukraine as well as the West’s sanctions regime against Russia, has increased the geopolitical significance of the Central Asian Republics (CAR) in German security considerations. Germany has initiated a new drive to boost its ties with CAR in response to Russia’s prolonged military intervention in Ukraine. The German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier visited Kazakhstan in the third week of June, reinvigorating the Kazakh-German strategic partnership and economic relations. Economy, energy, and connectivity dominated the talks between Steinmeier and Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. After spending two days in Kazakhstan, Steinmeier also visited Kyrgyzstan.

Rail-road infrastructure projects are transforming Central Asia from a landlocked to a transit region between Asia and Europe. The “dry port” of Khorgos, in Kazakhstan, right at the border between China and Kazakhstan, handles more than 20 trains per day, coming from China. Astana is significant because 85% of German foreign trade in Central Asia is conducted with Kazakh companies. The total bilateral trade between the two is $9 billion. Moreover, Berlin’s energy security requirements necessitate alternatives to Russian oil resources. Technology in exchange for raw material is the broad theme that drives the relationship. Berlin has promised to enhance exports of education and technology to Astana. Steinmeier and Tokayev launched the construction of a green hydrogen plant worth $54.3 billion by Svevind Energy, the German-Swedish company. The Kazakh-German Engineering Institute was also inaugurated during the President’s visit. In return, Kazakhstan has announced an increase in its crude oil exports to Germany’s PCK refinery in Schwedt by 10%, using the land transportation links.

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Updated On : 31st Jul, 2023
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