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The Tbilisi Silk Road Forum which took place 15–16 October 2015 – co-hosted by the Georgian and Chinese governments – was a clear endorsement by Georgia of China’s proposed Belt and Road policy. It also provided an opportunity to showcase Georgia’s position at the heart of a changing Eurasia. At a time when Iran is opening up, there is a surge of Chinese investment following the Belt and Road vision; numerous other proposals for Eurasian connectivity are being advanced by outside powers. As a country with strong connections to the east and west, Georgia is well placed to benefit from this web of connectivity and to offer examples of best practice to those nations that are still formulating their own responses to this regional development. This report details the key findings that emerged from the two-day conference, suggests ways in which it can move beyond being a one-off event and outlines some ideas for how Georgia can establish itself as one of the key hubs of Eurasian trade and commerce.
About the Authors:
Raffaello Pantucci is a Senior Research Fellow and Director of International Security Studies at RUSI. His research focuses on counter-terrorism as well as China’s relations with its Western neighbours.
Sarah Lain is a Research Fellow at RUSI. Her research looks at Russia and the former Soviet states. One of her areas of focus is China’s and Russia’s relations with the five Central Asian states.