Central Asia’s position in the new foreign policy concept of Kazakhstan

Central Asia’s position in the new foreign policy concept of Kazakhstan

In 2020, Kazakhstan will adopt a new foreign policy concept. Its draft, which is under consideration by the head of state, has already been published on the information and legal portal of normative legal acts.

The new strategy of Kazakhstan’s behavior in the international arena sets the future country and regional priorities of the partnership. In contrast to the previous concept, which was in force for seven years from 2014 to 2020, the fresh doctrine has no fixed validity period. That means that the goals and objectives set out in the document are firmly thought out and designed for a very long term.

It is noteworthy that the priority of the Central Asian countries has grown in the somewhat updated hierarchy of Kazakhstan’s foreign policy partners. Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are located under the second point after the Russian Federation.

“Kazakhstan is making efforts to develop cooperation in Central Asia, strengthening the geopolitical and geo-economic subjectivity of the region in the system of international relations,” the text of the Concept says.

This implies Nur-Sultan aimed not only at rapprochement within the framework of bilateral formats with the above-mentioned countries, but also at positioning the Central Asian region as a single power on the most important issues of the global and regional agenda.

Kazakhstan also expressed its readiness to join efforts with its neighbors in the Central Asian region in countering internal and external challenges and threats.

“[Kazakhstan] is actively developing political, economic, cultural and humanitarian bilateral and multilateral cooperation with the Kyrgyz Republic, the Republic of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and the Republic of Uzbekistan,” the draft document emphasizes.

In addition, Kazakhstan in relation to Central Asian countries promises to continue the course of development of interregional and cross-border cooperation, improvement of conditions for investment interaction, transition of economies to an innovative digital platform, optimization of tariff policy and simplification of administrative regulations for transit transport, joint addressing of environmental problems and rational use of transboundary water resources.

Thus, transport connectivity, innovative way of development, digitalization of economies, ecology, equal access to water resources- are the areas that, in fact, serve as a kind of “common denominator” in the system of Turkmenistan’s and Kazakhstan’s views on regional relations.

The most important line of the foreign policy of Ashgabat (as well as Nur-Sultan, judging by the content of the new Concept) is to strengthen the traditional good-neighborly ties with all countries of Central Asia and turning the region into an integral part of world economic processes as an equal and effective partner.

At the recent consultative summit of Central Asian states in Uzbekistan the Turkmen leader stressed that “the countries of Central Asia need to build a long-term strategy of cooperation with external partners based on common interests and prospects”.