All Posts (81)

Political Developments - September 2018

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev visited Turkey and held several Meetings with his Turkish counterpart President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The two leaders also held a joint press conference. In his speech, Erdoğan said that meetings were productive and five agreements were concluded. During the Turkey-Kazakhstan Investment Forum in Ankara, more than 20 documents worth approximately US$2 billion were signed. Nazarbayev congratulated Erdoğan for adopting the Presidential…

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Political Developments - August 2018

The five littoral States of Caspian Sea – Russia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan - agreed in principle on 12th August, 2018 to share the potentially huge oil and gas resources of the sea, paving way for more energy exploration and pipeline projects. However, delimitation of the seabed - which has caused the most disputes - will require additional agreements between these countries. Alongside the Draft Convention on Legal Status of Caspian Sea, the countries…

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The first state visit of Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev to India is scheduled to take place in October, 2018.

External Affairs Minister (EAM) Sushma Swaraj visited Kazakhstan (2-3 August), Kyrgyzstan (3-4 August) and Uzbekistan (4-5 August) to hold discussions with the leadership of these countries to further strengthen and expand relations with this important region. In Kazakhstan she met her counterpart as well as the Kazakh Prime Minister. In…

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Economic Developments - August 2018

Temporary ban on import of gasoline by railway from Russia to Kazakhstan came into force on August 10, 2018. This is due to over-abundance of AI-92 gasoline in Kazakhstan after completion of modernization of oil refineries. Presently Kazakhstan has more than 300,000 tons reserves of gasoline which is almost a 30-day reserve.

China has expressed interest in joining the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project, by building a…

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Economic Developments - July 2018

Kazakhstan currently produces 1.8 million barrels of oil per day and does not intend reducing its production in spite of its obligations to Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). International Energy Agency (IEA) stated in April, 2018 that Kazakhstan had broken its obligation to reduce oil production by 20,000 barrels per day (bpd) and had instead increased its daily production by 80,000 bpd since October 2017. The giant field Kashagan which produced 170,000…

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Political Developments - July 2018

President of Kyrgyzstan Sooronbay Jeenbekov said that strengthening friendly and fraternal relations with neighboring countries - Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan is a priority of Kyrgyzstan’s foreign policy. He noted that development of all-round ties with its strategic partner - Russia will remain an unchanged priority in foreign policy. He added that Kyrgyzstan has raised the strategic level of cooperation with its closest neighbor - People's Republic…

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3000 troops from member States of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) will stage a joint counter-terrorism military exercise in Chelyabinsk, in west-central region of Russia, on 22nd-29th August, 2018. Contingents from all eight SCO member countries including India and Pakistan will participate in the exercise. India has selected 200 soldiers mainly from the 5 Rajput Regiment of the Indian Army and airmen of the Indian Air Force to participate in these exercises. Indian troops will use…

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Economic Developments - June 2018

Exchange-rate stability is helping tame annual inflation in Kazakhstan. Inflation rose to 18% in mid-2016 after devaluation of Kazakh currency but is now down to 6.5%. These trends have improved Kazakhstan’s economic risk profile. However, Kazakhstan is far from a convincing long-term prospect, with, according to experts, no improvement in political or structural risk indicators and deteriorating capital access. Kazakhstan’s risk score has fallen by more than 10 points since…

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Political Developments - June 2018

Kazakhstan's parliament passed a bill that would retain the authority and control of President Nazarbayev in national and international affairs even if he decides to retire as president. This legislation is seen as a potential check on power of any future president, should Nazarbayev decide not to seek re-election. The law would bestow constitutional status on the country's consultative security council -- which currently issues recommendations -- while affirming…

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi participated in the 18th SCO Summit in Qingdao, China on 9-10th June. This was the first Summit in which India participated after becoming a member of the Organisation in 2017. On side-lines of the Summit, PM Modi met Presidents of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan and held discussions on further expanding bilateral cooperation. Uzbek President is expected to visit India shortly. Kyrgyzstan assumed Chairmanship of SCO at the…

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During his visit to Uzbekistan, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan addressed the Uzbek parliament and attended the Turkey-Uzbekistan Business Forum along with Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev. The presidents signed deals worth US$3 billion as the two countries seek to boost economic, defense, political and cultural ties. A series of agreements on economy, trade and culture were signed. Turk Exim bank signed a US$250 million revolving credit agreement with National Bank…

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Economic Developments - May 2018

Kazakhstan wants renewable energy to reach 50% of its energy mix by 2050, with intermediate targets of 3% by 2020 and 10% by 2030. Participants at a high-level policy dialogue on Renewable Energy Investment identified several barriers that are still faced by investors and also best practices, policies and tools to overcome them.

Central Asia’s first auction of renewable energy sources to reduce costs of electricity generated by renewable energy…

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External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj participated in SCO Foreign Ministers Meeting in Beijing. At end of Meeting, a commitment was given by member countries Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan to work together toward connecting the Belt and Road Initiative with each country’s development program. Except for India, all participants ‘’reaffirmed support for China’s Belt and Road proposal.” 

Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman…

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Political Developments - April 2018

Leaders of five Central Asian countries—four presidents and head of Turkmenistan’s parliament—met in Astana, Kazakhstan to discuss cooperation and integration. Tone of meeting was set by Kazakh President who declared that “in order to solve problems of Central Asia, we do not need any third persons. We ourselves can resolve all questions.” Meeting could represent a turning point for the region. Nazarbayev emphasised that this was happening primarily because of new president…

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Economic Developments - April 2018

Tajikistan has started supplying electricity to Uzbekistan after a nine-year interruption. This is result of more than a year of concerted diplomacy by Uzbek President Mirziyoyev. Mirziyoyev’s visit to Dushanbe in March, 2018 to meet President Rahmon was the first state visit by an Uzbek president since 2000. They agreed to put past disagreements behind them. Mirziyoyev dropped Uzbekistan’s longstanding opposition to Tajikistan’s Rogun dam project. Following the Summit, it…

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EAM Sushma Swaraj met Foreign Minister of Uzbekistan in Beijing during her visit to participate in SCO Foreign Ministers Meeting. Fruitful exchange of views on enhancing bilateral cooperation in trade & investment, pharma, IT, tourism and culture, as well as on regional situation took place. 

Armed Forces personnel of Kazakhstan participated in joint training with Indian Army contingent on UN peacekeeping operations at Centre for United…

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Political Developments - March 2018

Uzbekistan organised a Conference on 26-27 March on Afghanistan titled "Peace Process, Security Cooperation and Regional Connectivity" with participation of delegations from 21 countries and representatives from United Nations and European Union (EU) for finding ways to bring Afghan government, Taliban and others into direct peace talks. Uzbek and Afghan Presidents inaugurated the Conference. Tashkent Declaration adopted at end of Conference voiced its "strong backing for…

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi met his Kyrgyz counterpart Sapar Isakov on sidelines of World Government Summit in Dubai. The two leaders shared views on bilateral and regional issues.

Minister of State MJ Akbar in his Statement at Conference on Afghanistan in Tashkent on 26-27 March said that there cannot be any solution to the Afghan conflict "without principled commitment to law, to democracy as the basis of order and to human rights. At the centre of…

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Economic Developments - March 2018

Industrial production in Kazakhstan in January 2018 increased by 5.2% compared to corresponding month of 2017. Foreign direct investments into Kazakhstan in first nine months of 2017 amounted to US$15.8 billion. Kazakhstan exported non-primary products worth more than US$14 billion in 2017. Total volume of exports increased by 31.6% to US$43.1 billion.

Kazakhstan ranks 53rd among largest exporting countries. Its manufactured products are exported to…

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Political Developments - February 2018

US President Donald Trump met Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev in Washington DC. Both leaders agreed to enter into an Enhanced Strategic Partnership. Nazarbayev declared a "new era of relations" between the two countries that will cooperate on supply of U.S. and Afghan militaries. Nazarbayev expressed desire to host talks to find a peaceful solution for North Korean nuclear crisis and asserted that having abandoned its own nukes, Kazakhstan has a moral right to call on…

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About the Author

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.