ASTANA – Asia’s age is underway, bestowing ample opportunities, and Kazakhstan plays a pivotal role in it, said Yerkin Tukumov, director of the Kazakhstan Institute for Strategic Studies (KazISS), wrapping up the Central Asian Security and Cooperation Forum in Astana on July 14.
“Asia finds its own grandeur. The future of Asia will affect the future of the world,” Tukumov said at the closing ceremony.
Addressing the forum participants, Tukumov acknowledged the forum achieved its goals of promoting regional cooperation through the exchange of ideas and a joint search for new solutions to the most pressing security issues in Asia.
“Everything was for the purpose,” he added. “Most important takeaway is that we meet each other, share ideas, and feel the chemistry of the relationship. Based on this, we build trust and human relations with experts, which is the best outcome of our conference.”
The forum, which gathered leading experts from 25 countries, featured insightful discussions, some of them behind the doors, on a wide array of topics ranging from the environment and sustainable development to the potential of the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route and human capital development.
Experts have noted the development of any country is directly correlated with security and stability.
Tukumov emphasized the reforms in Kazakhstan, mentioning that a successful Kazakhstan entails a successful Central Asia, echoing the remarks of President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev read out by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Murat Nurtleu on the first day of the forum.
“We clearly understand that the transformation and democratization of our society, as well as the competitiveness and sustainability of our economy, are vital to our success and the success of Central Asia,” said Tukumov.
Tukumov noted that analytical and expert communities should play an important role in strengthening relations between the countries of the region.
“There are three key perspectives for medium-sized states in Asia. The first is geo-regionalism, when geographical position becomes an advantage. The second is plurality of culture and identity, where there is a common history, culture and values with diverse civilisational vectors. And the third is the existence of ‘non-global’ but feasible goals aimed at interaction with neighboring states,” he explained.
The Director noted the particular importance now attributed to the Central Asia+ format, which facilitates a number of dialogue platforms between the region and outside actors, including China, the European Union, India, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the United States.
“We believe that the notion of ‘big game’ should be a thing of the past, replaced by the concept of ‘big gain’ to enhance future mutually beneficial cooperation. This can be realized if we follow the vision that the success of Central Asia as a region is the success of each individual country,” said Tukumov.
He cited Kazakhstan’s relations with neighboring countries and countries across the Caspian Sea as one example of regional cooperation to intensify work on the Middle Corridor.