Cooperation prospects and security challenges for Central Asia

Today, we are witnessing a change in the existing world order. It is increasingly characterised by stronger regional blocs and geopolitical confrontations.

In these conditions, we see the growing influence of Central Asia, a region that finds itself at the junction of interests of global and regional powers.


Yerzhan Saltybayev

We must not forget that the ability of the countries of the region to respond to challenges, old and new, will directly depend on Central Asia’s ability to resolve its internal issues on its own and develop coordinated positions on various topics.

In this regard, the March 15 meeting of the heads of state of Central Asia, as well as the consultative meetings of foreign ministers, is of particular relevance.

Closer cooperation at the highest level gives us hope for the solution of the most urgent issues, including the joint use of water resources, energy, transit potential development and the fight against terrorism and extremism.

The new pace of cooperation in the region is already bearing fruit – trade has grown significantly, new air and rail routes are being launched and new infrastructure projects are being implemented.

The important thing is that the Central Asian region is open to the rest of the world and positions itself as one of the main transport and logistics hubs between Europe and Asia.

Countries of the region actively participate in major international and integration projects, including the Belt and Road Initiative, the Eurasian Economic Union, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, to name a few.

On top of that, the experience of cooperating with global and regional powers that has been accumulated over the years of independence helps us look optimistically into the future of Central Asia.

Today, Central Asia is experiencing a new era of partnership. That is why it is vital for us to comprehend the state and prospects of this process, identify the main obstacles and assess the possible risks of deeper regional cooperation.

The author is Director of the Institute of World Economics and Politics under the Foundation of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan.