The Great Game is an acronym thatwas put forward in the 19th century popularized byRudyard Kipling in his 1901 novel Kim.
The purpose was to explain the conflictbetween the British and Russian Empires over Afghanistan that prolonged to borderingcountries in Central and Southern Asia1.It included persistent tenses relations of Russia and Britain while playing onthe Central Asian chessboard; number of conflicts emerged. A precise insight ofthe new great game would differentiate it from the older great game as itfeatures number of players, the complexity and opportunity and themulti-dimensionality of their relations.
The location of Central Asia had beenthe epicenter of 19th century imperial conflict between British Empire and SovietUnion in past. It has been thechessboard of imperial opposition that used to exist between British andRussian empires created by their imperialist polices. So there used to be toughstruggle for power between British and Tsarist Russia in order to have aninfluence Central Asia due to its location at crossroads of ancientcivilizations (Indus and Oxus) and silk route.
The importance of Central Asia didn’treduce even in the New Great Game; however its dimension was altered. Thebreakup of Soviet Union totally transformed the geopolitical certainties in theregion and in the global politics as the new five Central Asian states;Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan were born outof Soviet. However, Central Asia clearly has developed itself and will graduallyemerge as a key global geopolitical ground. Many analysts believe that theGreat Game has returned but this time with new players. Central Asia as per geopoliticalphilosophy of Mackinder is the Heartland of the global politics.2The Great Game has reemerged under the preface of New Great Game with new ideas,new methods, new players and new tactics led by contradictory objectives and goals.
Post-Soviet changes are influenced by a range of national and global aspects. Latestgeopolitical studies that mainly emphasize on Central Asia echo such notionsthat existed long before the formation of the USSR. The competitive situationin Central Asia is fashioned mainly by two larger dynamics that occasionally join,interconnect, congregate, or collide. One of the aspect that Central Asia is achessboard is shaped by outsiders as Central Asia is a cauldron of large actorsthat involves not only China and India but also the United States, the Gulf States,Turkey, and to some level, Europe. Russia’s strategic benefits in the region stillexist and they have increased as the existence of other entities has becomemore distinct.
Central Asia perhaps stands on the edge of insightful strategic fluctuationin the decade to come. Though is unknown that how these changes would affectthe region in future. Most spectators of Central Asia usually claim that theregion’s stability is risky. Conventionalsecurity glitches engrained in border tussles, race over water and mineralresources, universal areas and ethnic subgroups, generate possibility ofconflict in the region and are considered as existential dangers by themajority of the indigenous inhabitants.1 (JeanPierre,2016)2(Mackinder,1996)