Kazakhstan, Russia to Enhance Military Cooperation

President and ShoiguASTANA – President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev discussed bilateral military and military-technical cooperation between Kazakhstan and Russia during a meeting with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on Jan. 30 in Astana.

Both sides noted the steady development of bilateral cooperation in the defence sector and outlined key ways to further implement relevant agreements.

“All issues are settled in the spirit of friendship and trust that characterises relations between our countries. Therefore, this visit will serve to further strengthen our military cooperation,” Nazarbayev said.

Upon his arrival in Astana, Shoigu and Defence Minister of Kazakhstan Adilbek Dzhaksybekov discussed the current air defence situation and a wide range of military issues.

According to Shoigu, Russia will supply Kazakhstan with an S-300 antiaircraft missile system to ensure the country adequate airspace safety. Previously, these missile battalions were deployed in Russia; now, experts of the two countries will work on placing them on operational readiness in Kazakhstan.

Both sides noted the positive trajectory in Kazakh-Russian military relations. In 2013, military-industrial product turnover between the two countries increased to $140 million.

“We are keen to bring our military cooperation to an even higher level based on an equal and mutually beneficial partnership. Together with Minister Shoigu, we discussed the Unified System of Air Defence, and joint actions following the ratification of the document that regulates the system’s functioning,” Dzhaksybekov noted.

Shoigu stressed that military cooperation between Russia and Kazakhstan is of a strategic nature and, therefore, the countries will continue to increase their volume of cooperation.

“We build our partnership with the future in mind. We bear responsibility for today’s risks, but we also aim to develop a long-term partnership over the next 15 to 20 years,” Shoigu said.

Since holding joint exercises is an important component of Kazakh-Russian cooperation, both defense ministers discussed this year’s “Interaction 2014” military games under the aegis of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), which are to take place in Kazakhstan. According to the Russian minister, the maneuvers will be more widespread this year in order to fully meet the military challenges and threats that exist in the region.

“We must make sure that we are ready to respond to threats, first of all, coming from Afghanistan, as coalition forces will soon depart that country,” Shoigu noted.

Other issues discussed during the meeting included arrangements for Russia’s use of testing grounds in Kazakhstan. At the talks, the militaries of Kazakhstan and Russia settled all issues surrounding the development of the “Balkhash” military complex. It is the only ground for development and testing of missiles in Eurasia. The parties agreed on the terms of its joint operation. According to both ministers, this year, they will begin training experts, as well as assembling and supplying additional equipment.

The agreement on establishing a Unified Regional Air Defence System was signed between Kazakhstan and Russia in January 2013. Earlier, Russia reached a similar agreement with Belarus. The establishment of regional air defence zones started in 2007.

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