All Articles (60)

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…

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…

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…

According to a UN Report, over a million people are allegedly being held in a secretive network of extrajudicial, political re-education centres in Xinjiang region of China. Several thousand of the 1.5 million Kazakhs who live in Xinjiang are interned in such camps. Unlike Uighurs, many of whom face cultural and religious repression, Kazakhs had long moved freely between China and their country. That freedom disappeared recently. Kazakh nationals…

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…

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…

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj made a brief stopover at Ashgabat airport enroute to Russia during which she held discussions with her Turkmen counterpart Rashid Meredov on issues of bilateral interest. She had made a brief stopover at Ashgabat in August, 2018 also during her visit to 3 Central Asian countries.

A Kazakh delegation led by Deputy Prime Minister Askar Zhumagaliyev visited India during which members got acquainted…

Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and government of Uzbekistan signed a new partnership strategy for 2018-2021 worth US$ 1.3 billion. Uzbek President noted that cooperation between Uzbekistan and IDB covers projects in several sectors like modernization of road transport, energy and municipal infrastructure, housing construction in rural areas, development of drinking water supply system, health and education, support for entrepreneurial entities and…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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.