Kazakhstan: Central Asia’s biggest state Kazakhstan to bolster defence capabilities amid Afghan crisis

President of Kazakhstan (Central Asia’s biggest state) Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has stressed the need for his country to bolster its defence capabilities against the external threats amid the fluid situation in Afghanistan.

“The situation in Afghanistan and the general growth of global tensions has put before us the task of rebooting the military-industrial sector and the Military Doctrine. Strengthening our defence capability and increasing the responsiveness to threats should also become priorities of national importance. We must prepare for external shocks and worst-case scenarios. Modelling of risks coming from the outside has become highly relevant. It is necessary to conduct stress tests, work out scenarios, on the basis of which the action plans of the state apparatus will be developed and adjusted,” the Kazakh President said at his third address to the nation since he assumed leadership delivered recently.

Even though Kazakhstan and Afghanistan do not share the border, Kazakhstan, a close partner of both India and Russia, is worried about the spillover of the Afghan situation in Central Asia and the Kazakh President appropriately highlighted that in his speech.

Apart from the security situation in the region, the Kazakh President also spoke about subjects related to nuclear energy, boosting financial aid for businesses during the pandemic, and five new social initiatives. “Nearly half of the country’s budget for 2022-2025 will be allocated to the social sector,” he said, adding that the country plans to push the minimum wage. This is expected to impact at least one million people who will witness better pay. The Kazakh administration also plans to enhance measures to push the local businesses to increase the salaries of the employees.

Furthermore, the Kazakh government also plans to transfer pensioners’ savings above the sufficiency threshold to the Otbasy bank for the subsequent purchase of housing, states EU reporter. The president expressed concerns about the energy shortages that the country might face by 2050, and therefore, laid emphasis on the alternative reliable energy sources.

“Within a year, the government and the Samruk Kazyna National Wealth Fund should study the possibility of developing a safe and environmentally-friendly nuclear power industry in Kazakhstan,” he said. “It should also include the development of engineering and creating a new generation of qualified nuclear engineers in our country. Hydrogen energy as a whole is also a promising sector,” he noted. Kazakhstan has pledged to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.

The initiatives and instructions laid out in the Kazakh President’s address clearly outline the key priorities for further socio-economic development of the country. The implementation of this plan will further increase the stability and competitiveness of the economy, prosperity and improve the quality of life for the people.

The address is a major program document, which reflects both long-term goals and priorities for the current period. Economic development is one of the most important focuses of the address. The measures to support the population and business amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic through the Economy of Simple Things and Business Roadmap programs, which were extended through 2022, are essential.

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