All Posts (100)

EAM Dr S Jaishankar met his recently-appointed Kazakh counterpart Mukhtar Tileuberdi on the sidelines of UN GA in New York and held discussions on issues of mutual interest. Kazakh Foreign Minister is scheduled to visit India soon.

 A joint military exercise between India and Kazakhstan with focus on counter terrorism operation in mountainous terrain will be held in Pithoragarh in October, 2019. Nearly 100 soldiers from both Indian and Kazakhstan armies will share their experiences of…

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Economic Developments - September 2019

Royal Dutch Shell, Eni and their partners in the Karachaganak oil and gas venture may be required to pay an additional US$1 billion to settle a dispute with Kazakhstan over revenue sharing. This claim comes on top of last year’s similar-sized settlement from the Karachaganak partners. Kazakhstan has a history of disputes with international investors over revenue, taxes and cost-sharing at its energy projects.

 In the 25 years of partnership with Kazakhstan, Asian Development Bank…

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Political Developments - September 2019

Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev paid his first State visit to China. It was decided to forge a long-term, permanent comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries. Several agreements were signed including an agreement on cooperation in aviation search and rescue of civil aircrafts; an MoU on implementation of cooperation plan for connectivity of Nurly Zhol (Bright Path) Infrastructure Development and construction of Silk Road Economic Belt; an agreement on China…

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Economic Developments - August 2019

Kazakhstan has attracted a total of US$ 330 billion as foreign direct investment since its independence in 1991. 

Oil production in Kazakhstan should exceed 100 million tons per year, and gas production 77 billion cubic meters per year by 2025. For this purpose, large-scale geological exploration program for 2021-2025 is being developed. By 2025, Kazakhstan plans to ensure annual sustainable GDP growth of at least 5% in achieving which oil and gas sectors will play a major…

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Pakistan absented itself from a two-day SCO meet on military medicine in India. It however sent a representative for dinner on the first day. In his Opening Remarks, Raksha Mantri Rajnath Singh highlighted the threat of nuclear, chemical and biological warfare. He underlined "complexity of existing challenges" and informed about “importance of building capabilities to deal with menace of bio-terrorism" which is a "real threat the world is facing today."

Engineering Export…

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Political Developments - August 2019

A political turmoil shook Kyrgyzstan when after hours of tense confrontation between supporters of former Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev and police, former President Atambayev was detained. The arrest culminated a six-week standoff, which started when current President Sooronbay Jeenbekov lifted Atambayev’s immunity from prosecution last June. Atambayev is charged with corruption schemes related to reconstruction of Bishkek’s thermal power plant and Historical Museum, unlawful release…

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Indian citizens transiting through Nur-Sultan (Astana) and Almaty can stay in Kazakhstan visa-free for 72 hours. Kazakh citizens can also obtain electronic visas to visit India. In 2018, Kazakh embassy in New Delhi issued more than 25,000 visas to Indian citizens, which is four times more than in 2014.

In November-December 2019, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev is expected to visit India. This is expected to significantly expand bilateral cooperation.

A new…

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Economic Developments - July 2019

World Bank is increasing its support for Uzbekistan and has praised reforms to promote a market economy. The Bank announced loan and grant agreements totalling US$656 million for projects in Uzbekistan. It said that energy sector is key to growth but the country suffers from weak financial and operational performance, infrastructure bottlenecks, and an incomplete policy and regulatory framework. 

During recent visit of Kazakh Prime Minister to Bishkek and his meeting with Kyrgyz…

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Political Development - July 2019

Kazakhstan's President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev is likely to pursue main economic policy priorities of his predecessor. These include structural reforms and, more recently, increasing social spending. Kazakhstan's budget encompasses the large programme of social expenditure announced by Nazarbayev in February 2019 that includes a 50% increase in minimum wage, tax cuts for low-income earners, and investment in housing and transport infrastructure. Government debt is low and favourable oil prices…

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India-Central Asia Relations

Prime Minister Narendra Modi participated in the 19th Summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in Bishkek. In his address, PM Modi outlined India’s vision for the SCO through an acronym ‘HEALTH’ (healthcare cooperation, economic cooperation, alternate energy, literature and culture, terrorism-free society and humanitarian cooperation). With Pakistani PM listening, Modi said the countries which "promote, support and fund" terrorism must be held accountable. He also pitched for an…

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Economic Developments - June 2019

Hevel has signed several agreements to buy stakes in many companies in Kazakhstan, expanding the Russian PV group’s presence to 178 MW. Upon completion in 2020, the project will be one of the biggest solar installations in Commonwealth of Independent States.

World Bank has approved a US$ 500 million loan to support Uzbekistan's ongoing economic transformation and market reforms, aimed at increasing jobs and well-being of its people. World Bank supports Uzbekistan through 22…

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Political Development - June 2019

Kassym-Jomart Tokayev was elected as President of Kazakhstan on 9th June, 2019 receiving 71% of votes polled. His nearest rival Amirzhan Kosanov of United National Patriotic Movement ('Ult Tagdyry') received 16% of votes. Tokayev succeeded Nursultan Nazarbayev, who announced his resignation in March after 30 years in power. Police arrested nearly 4,000 people during protests before and after the election. About 1,000 were detained for several days.

Protests took place on election…

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Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, a loyal associate of the first President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev emerged as the winner by polling 70.8% of the votes cast in Presidential election on 9th June, 2019. The outcome was never in doubt. What was of interest was the percentage of votes that Tokayev would be able to garner and the margin that he would be able to register over his closest adversary. 

Early presidential elections were held following the sudden and unexpected resignation…

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi held wide-ranging talks with Kyrgyz President Sooronbay Jeenbekov who was invited to participate in oath taking ceremony of new government in his capacity as current Chair of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). Kyrgyz President reiterated invitation to PM Modi to visit Kyrgyzstan for SCO Summit and a bilateral visit during 13-15 June, 2019. The two leaders held deliberations on diversifying economic and social cooperation for mutual benefit of both nations.…

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Economic Developments - May 2019

In a meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister, Kyrgyz President said that Kyrgyzstan is ready to align its development strategies with Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and strengthen practical cooperation with China in various sectors. He said that China has been providing Kyrgyzstan with huge selfless and sincere assistance for a long time without imposing its will, adding that China is indeed Kyrgyzstan's good neighbour, good friend and good partner. He said that Kyrgyzstan firmly adheres to…

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During his visit to Uzbekistan, the German President held discussions with his counterpart and commended political, economic, and social change and reforms introduced by Uzbek President. The two sides discussed issues of further expanding political, trade, economic, investment, financial, technical, cultural, humanitarian relations, combating terrorism and extremism, building up security and international and regional cooperation. The Presidents welcomed launch of Uzbekistan – Germany…

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Economic Developments - April 2019

Turkmenistan is offering public-sector office employees street-sweeping work as an alternative to complete dismissal as part of an ongoing downsizing of its government. Among those asked to consider this occupation are state accountants, economists and engineering staff. Reports throughout last year indicated that stretched government finances had prompted public sector agencies in Turkmenistan to cut their workforce.

ADB has commended Uzbekistan on its reform agenda and…

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Raksha Mantri (RM) Nirmala Sitharaman participated in meeting of Defence Ministers of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation countries. In addition to SCO Defence Ministers meeting and joint call on Kyrgyz President, RM also met Chief of General Staff of Armed Forces of Kyrgyzstan where wide-ranging discussions on bilateral defence cooperation, training, capacity building, military technical cooperation and assistance to Kyrgyz Level II Field Hospital for UN deployment were held. She delivered a…

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Political Developments - April 2019

Kazakh ruling Nur Otan party unanimously nominated interim President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev as its candidate for upcoming June 9 snap Presidential elections. Decision was made under leadership of former President Nursultan Nazarbayev. Tokayev will hence be the next president. At previous elections, other parties won only single-digit percentages of the vote. Nazarbayev described Tokayev as “the best suited candidate.” Tokayev had called snap elections for June 9, bringing forward the vote…

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First shipment under United Nations ‘Transports Internationaux Routiers’ (TIR) convention recently arrived at port of Nhava Sheva, Mumbai and Mundra in India from Afghanistan through Iran’s Chabahar Port. TIR convention will help in fast and easy movement of goods across multiple countries under a common customs document and guarantee. TIR will play a pivotal role in improving ease of doing business and pave the way for smoother and safer transport of goods across international borders and…

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About the Author

Ambassador Ashok Sajjanhar

Former Ambassador of India to Kazakhstan, Sweden and Latvia; President, Institute of Global Studies and Distinguished Fellow, Ananta Centre

Ambassador Ashok Sajjanhar belongs to the Indian Foreign Service and has acquitted his responsibilities in the diplomatic service for 34 years. He was Ambassador of India to Kazakhstan, Sweden and Latvia and has worked in senior diplomatic positions in Indian Embassies/Missions in Washington DC, Brussels, Moscow, Geneva, Tehran, Dhaka and Bangkok and also at Headquarters in India. He negotiated for India in the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations and in negotiations for India-EU, India-ASEAN and India-Thailand Free Trade Agreements.

He contributed significantly to strengthening strategic ties and promoting cultural cooperation between India and USA, EU, Russia and other countries.Ambassador Sajjanhar worked as head of National Foundation for Communal Harmony to promote amity and understanding between different religions, faiths and beliefs. Ambassador Sajjanhar has been decorated by Governments of Kazakhstan and Latvia with their National Awards and by Universal Peace Federation with Title of ''Ambassador of Peace.'' Currently Ambassador Sajjanhar is President of Institute of Global Studies, New Delhi. He writes, travels and speaks extensively on issues relating to international relations, foreign policy and themes of contemporary relevance and significance. He appears widely on TV panel discussions. Ambassador Sajjanhar is interested in reading, music and travelling. His wife Madhu is an economist and an educationist. They have a son and a daughter both of who are accomplished singers. Their son passed out of Yale University and their daughter is pursuing her PhD at University of Minnesota.