All Posts (14)

Central Asia Digest | May 2020

Political Developments

Statements by terrorist groups based in Central Asia and Afghanistan welcoming the US-Taliban “Peace Deal’’ signed on 29th February and congratulating the Taliban for evicting the occupying forces have impelled Afghanistan’s northern neighbours to extend their cooperation beyond rhetoric and multilateral meetings. Uzbekistan and Tajikistan signed a “Partnership 2020” agreement on military cooperation. Large-scale Tajik-Uzbek anti-terror exercises, extending over four days

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Central Asia Digest | April 2020

Political Developments

Kazakh President made a televised Address to the nation on fresh measures to soften the blow of the coronavirus epidemic on private enterprises and pledged more support for healthcare workers and vulnerable people. 
 
Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev went out of his way to connect with the Presidents of most neighbouring countries including Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan to discuss collaborative plans and share Best Practices to deal with the coron

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Central Asia Digest | March 2020

Political Developments

Tajikistan’s parliamentary election, held on March 1, delivered the expected victory to President Emomali Rahmon’s party and a small array of pro-government outfits. The Social Democratic Party of Tajikistan, the only opposition party left in the country following the 2015 banning of the Islamic Renaissance Party, failed to meet the threshold to gain a single seat. Tajikistan’s Central Election Commission announced that the People’s Democratic Party — Rahmon’s party — cap

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Political Developments

Violence broke out in Masanchi village in South-East Kazakhstan among local Kazakhs and a group of ethnic Chinese Muslims called Dungans who number more than 150,000 across Central Asia. The rampage, which resulted in 11 deaths, saw hundreds of ethnic Kazakh assailants descend on the Dungans, setting fire to homes, shops and livestock. In the worst such violence since Kazakhstan's independence, at least nine of the dead were Dungans, while one was a Kazakh.  The bloody cl

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Central Asia Digest | December 2019

Political Developments

The second Consultative Meeting of Heads of Central Asian States was held in Tashkent under Chairmanship of Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev. Uzbek President noted that the meeting reflected the sincere desire of people of the 5 countries to expand partnership, strengthen friendship and good-neighborliness, and jointly solve common problems. He said that solutions to many complex and controversial issues had been found. All these positive changes were supported by the po

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Central Asia Digest | September 2019

Political Developments

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 agreeme

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Central Asia Digest | August 2019

Political Developments

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,

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Central Asia Digest | July 2019

Political Development

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

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Central Asia Digest | June 2019

Political Development

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 el

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Central Asia Digest | June 2019

SPECIAL ISSUE

Change of Guard in Kazakhstan

 

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 sudde

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Central Asia Digest | May 2019

Political Developments

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 Uzbekist

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Central Asia Digest | April 2019

Political Developments

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 f

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Central Asia Digest | March 2019

Political Developments

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev dropped a geo-political bombshell on 19th March when he announced his resignation from position of President of country after having led it for about 30 years. In his televised Address he said that "concerns of the country and the people will remain my concerns" and that as founder of an independent Kazakhstan, his future task would be to ensure "the coming to power of a new generation of leaders who will continue the transformation" o

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Central Asia Digest | February 2019

Political Developments

Two anti-Chinese protests took place in Kyrgyzstan in January, 2019. These were directed against Beijing’s current crackdown on Muslims in western Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in which 1 million people — ethnic Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and Kyrgyz, have been sent to political re-education camps. Rally organizers, who had anticipated a larger turnout, laid out three demands: inspection of companies employing Chinese workers, a halt to Kyrgyz citizenship being granted to anybod

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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.