THE EXTERNAL POLICY OF INDEPENDENT UZBEKISTAN
For centuries Central Asia was considered the heartland of the ancient Asian world. Its pivotal geopolitical position allowed it to play a leading role in the relations of the tribes and peoples of much of the Eurasian landmass. In early history, the territories of contemporary Uzbekistan were integrated with the political regimes and cultures to the south of the country, forming the northern border of the Persian empire. Later Central Asia became the southeastern frontier of the Mongol kingdom. In the medieval period, the region served as the link between China and Europe. During the nineteenth century, the territory of Central Asia was the subject for competition between the external imperial powers of Russia and Britain. In the contemporary period, some writers have spoken of a new ‘Great Game’ being fought between Iran and Turkey for influence in the region.