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By Dr. Anurag Tripathi*

Establishment of the Institute for Foreign Policy Research under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan, is another milestone in the history of independent Kazakhstan. The important objective of the new Institute is to develop practical recommendations on the implementation of priority areas of Kazakhstan’s foreign policy, to identify current trends in world politics and economics, in the field of national and international security. This initiative is going to provide long term strategy to the government in foreign policy making. 

The formulation of Kazakhstan principles for its foreign policy was started after the independence on December 16 1991. The first president of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev clearly determined the main strategy of diplomacy- he wanted to firstly creating and maintaining favorable conditions for the steady development of the country on the basis of political, economic reforms. The multi-vector policy provides a basis for a flexible approach in their relations with competing international actors to acquire payoffs from economic and military affiliations or partnerships. The architects of Kazakhstan's current foreign policy, the first President Nursultan Nazarbayev said that his country's prominence lies with the fact that it is uniquely positioned to be a bridge between Europe and Asia, which is the core reason behind Kazakhstan's multi-vectoral foreign policy.

Importantly, Kazakh government also identified the goals and objectives of its foreign policy which is documented as "Foreign Policy Concept for 2014-2020." It is Prepared under the message the Republic of Kazakhstan first President Nursultan Nazarbayev to people of Kazakhstan "Strategy" Kazakhstan-2050": new political course of the established state". It includes every possible ensuring national security, defense capability, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country; strengthening of the world, regional and global security; creation of favorable external conditions for successful realization of Strategy-2050, achievement of a high level of living of the population, strengthening of unity of multinational society, the constitutional state and democratic institutes, realization of the rights and freedoms of the person; diversification, industrial and technological development and increase in competitiveness of national economy etc.

Importantly, with its visionary foreign policy Kazakhstan came in at 51st place in the 2012 World Bank annual report on the competitiveness of world economies. The first President of Kazakhstan announce his new national strategy—Kazakhstan-2050—with the main objective of pushing Kazakhstan up the list into the Top 50 developed countries in the world. Recent years, Kazakhstan has increased its foreign assistance to neighboring republics because First Kazakh President has incorporated aid initiative into his larger foreign policy strategy. For this reason, Kazakhstan created a national agency, KazAID, to support development projects in different states.

Moreover, Kazakhstan’s foreign policy priorities is to pursue inclusive dialogue between leading powers to overcome “bloc thinking” and reach consensus on key global issues. Former Kazakhstan Foreign Minister Beibut Atamkulov during ambassadors and envoys meeting in Astana on Feb. 7, 2019 said-

“The main task of (the government) is to enhance the welfare and quality of life of citizens, as it has been defined by the President Nursultan Nazarbayev, and the responsibility of the Ministry is to ensure favourable external conditions for the sustainable socio-economic development of the country by political and diplomatic means.”

Interestingly, Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev is following the similar path which was adopted by the first President Nursultan Nazarbayev since the formation of state. Recently on March 9, 2020, President signed a decree identifying new priorities in the country’s foreign policy for the next 10 years. The new Concept of foreign policy has identified priorities in regional and multilateral diplomacy which includes allied relations with the Russian Federation, a comprehensive strategic partnership with China, an expanded strategic partnership with the United States of America, strategic relations with Central Asian states, expanded partnership and cooperation with the European Union (EU) and member states EU.  

These development in foreign affairs suggest how Kazakhstan is following the legacy of first President. There is no doubt that Kazakhstan achievement of success in foreign policy was not one-day work. It is planned, structured and step-by-step. Considering the current happening in the world, starting with conflicts between leading geopolitical actors and ending with the consequences of the global spread of the coronavirus infection COVID-19, most of the countries are very confuse about the world politics in future. They either have to adopt clear guidelines in favor of a particular great power or strongly isolate themselves from external influence or continually show flexibility in relations with different countries. Kazakhstan due to various factors continually show flexibility in relations with different countries. Confident steps of Kazakhstan to foreign policy space is result of enormous efforts of the Head of state which is directly responsible for carrying out in life of the chosen course of the country.

*Dr. Anurag Tripathi is Assistant Professor at the Department of International Studies and History Christ University, Bangalore, India