All Posts (84)

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…

Read more…

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…

Read more…

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…

Read more…

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…

Read more…

Economic Developments - March 2019

Turkmen President in a meeting with King of Bahrain invited Bahraini companies to participate in implementation of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline (TAPI). It was noted that construction of TAPI gas pipeline is proceeding at a brisk pace. 

Turkmen foreign minister during his visit to Pakistan to conclude the Host Government Agreement (HGA) on Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline with Pakistan declared that Turkmenistan plans to…

Read more…

Political Developments - March 2019

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" of Kazakhstan.…

Read more…

President Shavkat Mirziyoyev of Uzbekistan was a key guest at the Vibrant Gujarat investment summit. This was his second visit to India in four months. The first was the state visit in September/October, 2018 and the second to Gandhinagar, Gujarat in January, 2019. This was clear indication of growing ties between India and Uzbekistan. Uzbekistan can help India in protecting its interests in Afghanistan. Participation of Uzbekistan in Vibrant Gujarat summit included government and business…

Read more…

Political Developments - February 2019

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 anybody but ethnic Kyrgyz…

Read more…

Economic Developments - February 2019

According to World Bank, growth of Kazakhstan’s economy will decrease to 3.5% this year as oil production growth levels off and further fiscal consolidation efforts continue. Global growth slowdown could decrease remittances from Russia and Kazakhstan to Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan lead the region in share of remittances to GDP at 35% and 32% respectively.

China and Central Asia have been witnessing a boom in trade volume, especially in…

Read more…

Economic Developments - January 2019

Uzbekistan is planning to get US$ 4.1 billion in foreign direct investment in 2019, which is 71% more compared to 2018 (US$2.4 billion). Several tax and financial reforms were implemented to further improve the investment climate. Main investors are Russia, Turkey, China, Kazakhstan and South Korea. Tourism, agriculture, light industry, construction industry, oil and gas industry, etc. are most popular sectors for foreign investment. 

Kazakhstan is not in favour of Russian…

Read more…

With bilateral trade between India and Kazakhstan crossing US$1 billion, both countries are exploring potential of new products. Immense possibilities exist in sectors like agricultural products, food processing, pharmaceuticals, energy and chemicals. Kazakhstan is India’s largest trade and investment partner in Central Asia and is its third largest partner in the entire post-Soviet region.

Ahead of expected visit of Kazakh President Nazarbayev to India in 2019 when several…

Read more…

Political Developments - January 2019

A crowd of about 150 people gathered near Chinese Embassy in Bishkek for a protest. The crowd asked Chinese government to explain why it had arrested ethnic Kyrgyz and was holding them in internment camps; they also demanded that the Kyrgyz government expel any Chinese found to be staying in the country illegally. President Jeenbekov’s comments that ethnic Kyrgyz of China are citizens of China and that Kyrgyzstan could not intervene in their domestic matters have hugely disappointed large…

Read more…

Economic Developments - December 2018

IMF has forecast that Kazakhstan will see a GDP growth of 3.7% in 2018. Economic growth will be driven by higher oil production as well as increased activities in trade and manufacturing industry. Kazakhstan’s economic growth accelerated in 2017 due to measures taken by Government, including budget support, flexible exchange rate, use of inflation targeting as well as strengthening banking sector and implementation of structural reforms. Economic growth is expected to continue although some…

Read more…

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…

Read more…

For the first-time, troops of a foreign army are serving under command of an Indian Army battalion at a United Nation mission. A company comprising 120 soldiers of Kazakh army were inducted with the 11 Jat infantry battalion of the Indian Army in Lebanon. With a total strength of 850 troops, Indian and Kazakh army are co-deployed in a mountainous, tough terrain along the Blue Line that demarcates Lebanon and Israel. While 90 soldiers from the Kazakh army will be deployed in the area under…

Read more…

Political Developments - November 2018

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Uzbek counterpart Shavkat Mirziyoyev on October 19, pressed a symbolic button to launch a project to build Uzbekistan’s first nuclear power plant. This is likely to be Central Asia's first new-era nuclear plant.  It is expected that about 15% of energy generation within Uzbekistan by 2030 will be accounted for by nuclear power. The first block of nuclear power plant would be launched by 2028. This project is in line with…
Read more…

Economic Developments - November 2018

Russia and Kazakhstan intend to bring mutual payments in national currencies up to 70% over the next 1-2 years from the current level of 63%. Bilateral trade turnover is expected to reach US$20 bln this year.

According to European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), economic growth in Central Asia is expected to moderate in 2018 and 2019, reflecting a need for fiscal consolidation in the region, higher inflation limiting growth in real…

Read more…

Kazakhstan’s first ever UN peacekeeping contingent that is part of an Indian battalion in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) arrived in Lebanon. The contingent will patrol areas, organise observer posts and supervise ceasefires. 120 Kazakh peacekeepers have been deployed in Lebanon in their mission for UNIFIL with Indbatt. India, as the lead nation, is providing command, control and battalion headquarters, three rifle companies, a mechanised infantry…

Read more…

Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, accompanied by a high-level delegation, paid a 2-day state visit to India to strengthen bilateral ties. This was his first visit to India since assuming office in 2016. 17 agreements were signed ranging from cooperation in defence, national security, agriculture, science, pharmaceuticals and technology, and a twinning agreement between historic cities of Agra and Samarkand. Both countries decided to work jointly and strive for a…

Read more…

Economic Development - October 2018

Kazakhstan accounts for more than 70% of all investment coming to region. In first six months of 2018, agreements were reached by Kazakhstan to implement 69 new projects with large investors, including ten multinational companies from China, Turkey, United States, UAE, UK and European Union.


It was stated at Kazakhstan Global Investment Forum in London that Kazakhstan is an “overlooked powerhouse” and one of world’s next big investment destinations. Several…

Read more…

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.