Kazakhstan and Tajikistan calibrate positions on regional security issues
* The author is a UK-based analyst and has worked with universities in three Central Asian countries.
Kazakhstan and Tajikistan agree to further deepen their relations within the framework of the Intergovernmental Commission for Economic Cooperation to strengthen partnership in the sectors of trade, industry, agriculture, business and investment . During his first trip abroad this year, which ended on May 20, Kazakh President Kassym-Zhomart discussed a range of issues with his Tajik counterpart Imomali Rakhmon in Dushanbe.
Tajikistan’s leaders were keen to come up with joint initiatives and partnership proposals to attract investment from Kazakhstan’s business and entrepreneurship sectors.
According to the new Kazakh channel Khabar 24, trade between the two countries fell by 5% in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Out of a total bilateral trade volume of $ 910 million, Kazakhstan’s exports exceeded $ 757.5 million, including wheat, natural gas, petroleum products, oils and food products.
Further development of relations provides for the establishment of joint ventures for the processing of agricultural products, the export of environmentally friendly products to Kazakhstan and the establishment of unified wholesale distribution centers in Tajikistan.
The Kazakh Alageum group will install four power transformers with a voltage of 110 kilowatts. According to the chairman of this group, Erkebulan Ilyasov, these transformers will replace the existing substations. The two companies involved reached an agreement for the supply of equipment during the Kazakh-Tajik business forum held in Dushanbe. Representatives of some 20 companies operating in various fields had arrived in Dushanbe for business talks.
The two sides also agreed to promote transport cooperation in the field of railways. There are two Kazakh locomotives in the Tajikistan Railway Park. A new contract was signed for the supply of four additional engines. Tajikistan is also interested in cooperation with Kazakhstan on the digitization of the economy, innovation and import of modern technologies.
The secure urban traffic monitoring system developed in Kazakhstan operates in Dushanbe. The cameras installed on the roads considerably reduce the number of traffic violations. Now, they are also thinking about the surveillance of certain public places. Kazakhstan’s “Sergek” surveillance system aroused interest in Tajikistan. It is a radical solution offering maximum security thanks to video surveillance systems, automatic photos and video recordings.
The visit helped the two neighboring Central Asian states to calibrate their positions on security issues in their immediate neighborhood; progress in integration efforts in the post-Soviet space region, and in the wider debate on preventive measures to better manage the situation in neighboring Afghanistan.
Lack of border agreement
The lack of a border agreement is at the heart of the tension between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, which has once again led to the recent outbreak. Experts believe that the solution does not lie only in the demarcation of borders, but above all in the acceptance of joint use of land and water resources and cross-border roads.
Alexander Kobrinsky of the Russian Center for Ethno-National Strategies says the role of a peacemaker is suitable for Kazakhstan as it has become a developed and stable state over the past 30 years. It has the potential to influence allies in the regional security architecture. Kazakhstan can offer the role of mediator to both countries. However, the peacekeeping mission is only successful when the aggrieved parties are genuinely interested in the peace. Otherwise, if there is no effective mechanism to resolve the conflict, the peacekeeper can only monitor the conflict.
More often than not, disagreements arise over unresolved issues related to water and land distribution, drug trafficking and illegal border crossings, Tajik analyst Parviz Mullojanov said.
He said the lack of a joint resolution on the disputed border territories and mutual mistrust between the two governments contributed to the recent border clashes that erupted from April 28 to May 1.
More than a third of the 972 kilometers (603 miles) of the Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan border remains a cause for concern in the absence of an agreement on the final settlement.
Andrei Kazantsev, an expert on global economics and politics, believes the President of Kazakhstan can offer impartial mediation in the ongoing conflict over land and water resources in the Ferghana Valley, where their borders meet. .
As Kazakhstan enjoys good relations with Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan and commands respect from all of its Central Asian neighbors, it has the potential to ease tensions. He also noted that in recent times, relations between these countries are improving as Uzbekistan also seeks to bring these two neighbors closer together.
** The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of the Anadolu agency.
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