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11 Landlocked Countries In Asia

Asia is the world’s largest continent containing a diverse range of unique geographies and cultural identities. There are 11 landlocked countries within Asia, each has its own strategic and historical significance and distinct features. Though they do not have direct access to water but play an important role in the regional and international dynamics, providing a crossroad of trade and geopolitics. From the rugged terrain of Afghanistan to the sprawling deserts of Kazakhstan and the lush valleys of Bhutan, these countries have added great value to regional and international politics. Here, you will read a brief description of the 11 landlocked countries in Asia.

List of 11 Landlocked Countries In Asia

Here is the list of 11 landlocked countries in Asia.

  • Afghanistan 
  • Azerbaijan
  • Armenia
  • Bhutan
  • Laos
  • Kazakhstan
  • Mongolia
  • Nepal
  • Tajikistan
  • Turkmenistan
  • Uzbekistan

1) Afghanistan

Afghanistan is an Islamic Emirate that lies at the crossroads of Central Asia and South Asia and is a landlocked country. It borders China to the east and northeast, Uzbekistan to the north, Pakistan to the south and east, Tajikistan to the northeast, Turkmenistan to the northwest, and Iran to the west. The area of Afghanistan is 652,860 square kilometers with a population of 40.1 million. Kabul is the capital of Afghanistan. The country was known as the heart of Asia due to its strategic location. Afghanistan has a diverse geography containing mountain ranges accompanied by river basins and plateaus. The significant ranges include the Himalayas, the Hindukush Range, and the Karakoram Mountains. 

2) Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan is a transcontinental country and is located at the crossroads of West Asia and Eastern Europe. It is in the Caucasus region and borders Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Iran to the south, Armenia and Turkey to the west, and Caspian Sea to the East. Azerbaijan has a coastline of 713 km on the Caspian Sea but has no access to open sea, considering it a landlocked country. Azerbaijan extends over 86,600 square kilometers with a population of 10.14 million. Baku is the capital of Azerbaijan. It consists of mountain ranges, beautiful terrains, lowlands, and well-developed networks of canals. The economy of Azerbaijan has been progressing into market-based reforms but there is a heavy government involvement in the structural economic system. 

Also Read:  10 Largest Countries In Asia By Area

3) Armenia

Armenia is a landlocked country and a nation native to the Armenian highlands of West Asia. Armenia lies in the Transcaucasia region. It borders Turkey to the west, Azerbaijan to the east, Georgia to the north, and Iran and the Nakchivan Autonomous Republic ( Azerbaijani exclave) to the South. Yerevan is the financial center and the capital city of Armenia. It covers 29,742 square kilometers with a population of 2.791 million. The geography is mostly mountainous with flowing rivers and forests. Armenia is a parliamentary democratic republic where the prime minister is the executive and head of the government while the president is the head of the state. 

4) Bhutan

Bhutan is a Buddhist Kingdom that lies in South Asia and is a landlocked country. It is situated in the Eastern Himalayas between India in the South and China in the North. The area of Bhutan is 38,394 square kilometers with a population of 777,486. Thimphu is the capital city of Bhutan. Its political system is a constitutional Monarchy where the King is the Head of State and Buddhism is the state religion. The Thimphu valleys and the Paro town are the political nucleus of Bhutan. It is popular for its dramatic landscapes, monasteries, and fortresses, consisting of fertile valleys of lesser Himalayas, high and complex interconnected ridges, plains, and plateaus.  

5) Laos

Laos, officially the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (LPDR) lies in Southeast Asia and is the only landlocked country in the region. It borders Vietnam to the east, Thailand to the west and southwest, Cambodia to the southeast, and Myanmar and China to the northwest. It covers 236,800 square kilometers with a population of 7.425 million. Vientiane is the capital and the largest city of Laos situated on the northeast of the Mekong River. Laos is a member of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement, and East Asia Summit. Laos is known for its mountainous terrain, hill tribe settlements, French colonial architecture, and Buddhist monasteries. 

Also Read: 15 Landlocked Countries In Europe

6) Kazakhstan 

Kazakhstan lies in Central Asia and is the largest landlocked country in the world. It is the former Soviet Republic, that borders Uzbekistan to the south, Turkmenistan to the southwest, Kyrgyzstan to the southeast, China to the east, and Russia to the north and west along the coastline of the Caspian Sea. Astana is the capital city and Almaty is the leading commercial and cultural hub of Kazakhstan. The area of Kazakhstan is 2.725 million square kilometers with a population of 19 million. It consists of plains and hilly plateaus which account for nearly half, lowlands which make up one-third of the huge expanse of Kazakhstan, and the low mountainous range which is about one-fifth of the highest point of Kazakhstan. Further, there are uplands in central Kazakhstan, Aral Karakum, and Greater Barsuki deserts that have made the Kazakhstan landscape diverse. 

7) Mongolia

Mongolia lies deep within the interior of East Asia far from any sea and is a landlocked country. It borders China to the south and Russia to the north. Ulaanbaatar is the capital of Mongolia and lies in the north-central part of the country. The area of Mongolia is 1.564 million square kilometers with a population of 3.348 million. The politics of Mongolia operate under a semi-presidential multi-party representative democracy where the prime minister is the head of the cabinet and the government. The country experiences a continental climate with hot summers and short winters. It consists of largely a plateau, the highest peaks of Mongolian Altain mountains, pasturelands, hilly steppe plains, lakes, forests, and deserts. 

8) Nepal

Nepal, officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, lies in South Asia and is a landlocked country. It borders India to the east, west, and south, and the Tibet Autonomous region to the north. Kathmandu is the capital of Nepal. It covers 147,181 square kilometers with a population of 30.03 million. It has a diverse geographical landscape including subalpine forested hills, fertile plains, and the world’s tallest mountain, Mount Everest. Nepal is a multi-cultural, multi-lingual, and multi-religious state. It is a parliamentary republic with a multi-party system where the prime minister is the head of the government and the president is the head of the state. 

9) Tajikistan

Tajikistan lies in the heart of Central Asia and is a landlocked country. It borders Afghanistan to the west, China to the east, Afghanistan to the south, and Kyrgyzstan to the north. It covers 143,099 square kilometers with a population of 9.75 million. Dushanbe is the capital of Tajikistan. It is the smallest nation in Central Asia by area, consisting of a mountain of the Pamir range, lowlands in the north, and Vakhsh and Kufarnihon river valleys in the south.

10) Turkmenistan

Turkmenistan lies in the Central Asian region and is a landlocked country. It borders Uzbekistan to the north, northeast, and east, Kazakhstan to the northwest, Afghanistan to the southeast, and Iran to the south and southwest. The area of Turkmenistan is 491,210 square kilometers with a population of 6.342 million. Ashgabat is the capital of Turkmenistan.  It is mostly covered by the Karakum desert, bounded by the Paropamyz Plateau, the Kopet Dag Range to the south, the Ustyurt Plateau to the north, the Koytendag Range to the east, and the Caspian Sea to the west.

11) Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan, officially the Republic of Uzbekistan, lies in Central Asia and is a landlocked country. It borders Afghanistan to the south, Tajikistan to the southeast, Kazakhstan to the north, Kyrgyzstan to the northeast, and Turkmenistan to the southwest. The area of Uzbekistan is 448,900 square kilometers with a population of 34.92 million. Tashkent is the capital of Uzbekistan. Uzbekistan is one of the only two doubly landlocked countries in the world. It is bounded by the Aralkum Desert, the endorheic basin, Kyzalkum deserts, and mountains. 

Conclusion

Among the around 197 countries in the world, numerous are landlocked. Some are singly landlocked and some are doubly. Some are covered by rugged terrain, and some contain mostly mountains, this shows each country has distinct geographical characteristics. 

In a nutshell, Asia, the largest continent in the world, is home to a wide range of diverse nations with a distinct geographical identity, rich histories, and vibrant cultures. The landlocked countries of Asia are a testament to the enduring resilience and multifaceted nature of the region. From the ancient cities of Uzbekistan, and the rugged terrain of Afghanistan to the majestic peaks of Tajikistan, each country is full of unique modernity and heritage. Despite their geographical restrictions as they do not have access to water, they have a pivotal role in regional dynamics and geopolitics. The impact and influence of these nations are far beyond their borders leaving an incredible mark on the geopolitical significance of Asia in the geopolitics

FAQs

Is there a country in Asia that is doubly landlocked? 

Yes, Uzbekistan is one of the only two countries in the world that are doubly landlocked ( all their neighboring states are also landlocked). The other one is Liechtenstein.

How can a landlocked country develop?

Landlocked countries are dependent on the transit neighbors for their socio-economical growth and development. They are dependent on the transit infrastructure, their relation with the respective state, and internal peace and stability. 

What is the right of the landlocked country? 

Landlocked countries have been given access to water via the transit state under the UNCLOS ( United States Convention on the Law of Seas). 

Which is the largest landlocked country in Asia?

Kazakhstan is not only the largest landlocked country in Asia but also the largest landlocked country in the world following Mongolia. 

Oleksandra Mamchii

Working as a academic lead at Best Diplomats.

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