The parliamentary election in Kazakhstan is officially over. Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has been reelected as the President of Kazakhstan. The government has resumed its multi-vector foreign strategy as a pillar of its diplomacy.
Kazakhstan, located in the heart of Central Asia, has traditionally played an essential role in regional politics. It has built a reputation internationally as a stable and reliable partner.
Since its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, the country has adopted a multi-vector diplomacy strategy for foreign affairs.
Its foreign policy is regarded as a successful formula that has helped the nation become a significant player on the world stage. In this report, we will look at Kazakhstan’s foreign policy and why it has been so effective.
A multi-vector foreign policy is a diplomatic approach to maintaining solid relations with various nations and international organizations.
Governments frequently use this action to avoid siding with one side in disputes or forming an undue alliance with one country or political group.
Instead, governments adopting a multi-vector foreign strategy seek to be perceived as impartial, dependable partners who enable cooperation and dialogue among other nations.
Kazakhstan’s foreign policy fundamentals include neutrality, multi-vector diplomacy, and regional cooperation. Kazakhstan maintains neutrality in conflicts and does not align with any particular group or country.
Kazakhstan can diversify its ties and lessen its reliance on any single partner by interacting with many nations and regions through multi-vector diplomacy.
Kazakhstan’s security and development are inextricably linked to the area’s stability, making regional cooperation crucial.
Its strategy has significantly impacted the country’s ability to sustain its position as an essential actor in Central Asia and beyond.
Astana has developed strong partnerships with neighboring countries such as Russia, China, and Iran while building links with major Western powers such as the United States and the European Union.
Kazakhstan’s capacity to retain excellent relationships with the West and Russia despite tensions between them is one of the real benefits of its multi-vector diplomacy.
The country joined the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union while maintaining close political and economic ties with the European Union (EU) and the United States (US).
It can benefit from cooperation with both sides without being forced to take a position. Since its inception in 2013, Kazakhstan has actively participated in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
Kazakhstan, as a landlocked nation, perceives the BRI as an opportunity to broaden its commerce with China, upgrade its transportation system, and link up with other markets in Asia and Europe.
China and Kazakhstan have worked together on many infrastructure projects, including constructing motorways, trains, and pipelines connecting the two countries.
These projects have expanded economic links, people-to-people contacts, and cultural cooperation between the two countries.
In addition to the BRI, Kazakhstan is a member of the C5+1 regional platform, which includes Kazakhstan, the US, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
The platform fosters regional cooperation in trade, environment, and security. Kazakhstan has worked through the C5+1 to deepen ties with the US and other Central Asian countries while maintaining its partnership with China.
Moreover, Kazakhstan has strong ties with Russia. This is unsurprising given that Kazakhstan was formerly a part of the Soviet Union, and Russian is still widely spoken.
It has attempted to retain excellent relations with Russia while strengthening connections with other Central Asian states.
Kazakhstan’s accession to the EEU has given the country access to a broader market and facilitated commerce with its neighbors. The EEU has also allowed Kazakhstan to diversify its economy and attract foreign investment from other member countries.
Kazakhstan’s multi-vector foreign strategy has enabled it to use its neutral status and resolve international crises.
For instance, in 2013, Kazakhstan facilitated negotiations between Iran and six other countries regarding Iran’s nuclear program, which led to the signature of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
The government also played an essential role in organizing peace talks between warring factions in Afghanistan. It also actively mediated conflicts in Central Asia, such as the boundary dispute between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan in 2021.
It is actively cooperating in the negotiations for the invasion of Ukraine. Astana has played a crucial role in promoting nuclear non-proliferation in the region.
It organized conferences on the subject and voluntarily gave up its nuclear weapons. Kazakhstan has been prosperous in establishing commercial links with other countries. The enormous natural resources of the country, particularly its oil and gas deposits, have drawn significant global investment. Through this investment, Kazakhstan has been able to modernize its economy and raise the standard of living for its citizens.
The nation has explored economic cooperation with various regional organizations and programs, such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC).
Meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), 2022The country is a member of the United Nations (UN) and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), allowing it to contribute to global decision-making processes.
Kazakhstan utilized its involvement in these organizations to advance its principles and advocate for regional peace, international concord, and stability.
Ultimately, the country has been prosperous in exhibiting its culture and heritage globally. The government has hosted several significant cultural events, including the Astana EXPO 2017 and the 2019 Winter Universiade.
Astana also organized the CICA Summit 2022, attended by Presidents and Prime Ministers from 11 nations. Kazakhstan will be the host country for the OTS summit’s 10th anniversary in October 2023.
Furthermore, Kazakhstan has used cultural diplomacy to develop ties with other countries. For example, the government has created cultural centers worldwide to promote Kazakh culture and language.
This strategy comprises forming alliances with various countries and international organizations worldwide. As a predominantly Muslim country, Kazakhstan has taken an active position in the Muslim world, regionally and globally.
The government has worked to advance a liberal and progressive understanding of Islam. It has emphasized the value of interreligious cooperation and dialogue.
The Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions was established as one avenue for Kazakhstan to promote its interpretation of Islam.
This international forum brings religious leaders worldwide to debate faith, peace, and tolerance themes. Since its inception in 2003, the congress has served as a vital forum for interfaith conversation and collaboration.
Kazakhstan has strongly supported stability and peace in the Muslim world. The country has participated in peacekeeping missions in Muslim nations such as Lebanon and Sudan.
Furthermore, It has aggressively fostered economic cooperation and development among Muslims. The country has participated in many regional initiatives, including the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB).
Kazakhstan’s international relations and economic progress have benefited from its multi-vector diplomacy approach, but it also faces criticism.
Analysts argued that preserving constructive connections with numerous nations with various values and interests might be challenging. It can be challenging for Kazakhstan to negotiate the occasionally conflicting interests of its allies.
Furthermore, some have criticized Kazakhstan’s multi-vector diplomacy approach. They assert that the country needs to be tugged in more directions and have a clear foreign policy vision.
Despite some criticism, its success illustrates that collaboration with other nations and organizations has helped the country advance stability, draw foreign capital, and promote its global cultural legacy.
Kazakhstan’s foreign policy has successfully promoted its interests while ensuring its security and prosperity in a swiftly changing global context.
Due to its priority on neutrality, multi-vector diplomacy, and regional cooperation, the nation has forged close bonds with superpowers and expanded its economic ties with other countries.
Kazakhstan’s involvement in international affairs has been marked by its dedication to interfaith cooperation and conversation and its goal of fostering peace and stability.