Political Developments - December 2018

Discussions on divesting former presidents of Kyrgyzstan of their immunity, potentially opening the path for prosecution of former President Almazbek Atambaev, are advancing in the parliament committee for constitutional law.

A group of ethnic Kyrgyz originally from north-western Chinese region of Xinjiang have urged Kyrgyzstan President Sooronbai Jeenbekov to seek release of their relatives from "re-education camps" in China. Kyrgyzstan’s first reaction to reports that ethnic Kyrgyz had been detained en masse as part of a giant crackdown in China’s Xinjiang region suggested that Kyrgyzstan was unwilling to rock the boat. A UN panel has determined that over one million people from ethnic minority communities, mostly Uighurs, may be interned in the camps. Survivors say these facilities, which China has likened breezily to vocational training centers, are little more than jails. Testimonies from victims suggest Beijing is targeting all Muslim minorities there as part of its Strike Hard campaign to bring Xinjiang to heel.

The Kazakh government has been nudged into a reluctant dialogue with Beijing on re-education camps in which Chinese nationals of Kazakh origin are incarcerated.

A preparatory meeting between EU and foreign ministers of the five Central Asian countries was held in Brussels to define EU strategy for Central Asia in early 2019. China’s Belt and Road initiative has prompted EU to come up with its own blueprint for how to increase connectivity with Central Asia, on the basis of a rules-based approach.

Kazakh President Nazarbayev has warned of a risk to post-World War II order and proposed that his country host a conference of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in 2020 with the purpose of “updating” the 1975 Helsinki Final Act of the then CSCE. Kazakhstan has good relations with all major world players and a track record of organising conferences to promote peace and disarmament.

The Trump administration has acknowledged Uzbekistan’s progress in implementation of crucial political, economic and social reforms but also highlighted problems related to human rights. US-Uzbekistan Relations soared to new heights with the meeting earlier this year between President Trump and Uzbek President Mirziyoev, a first since 2002. 


December 28, 2018

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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.