Rapidly changing geopolitical trans-regional “witch hunts” and geo-strategic conflicting ground realities have encouraged Kazakhstan and Pakistan to further strengthen their military cooperation in diverse fields.
In this regard, defense high officials of both the countries have been in close liaison due to which military cooperation between the two countries have been getting momentum which is good omen for the regional peace and stability.
The Republic of Kazakhstan has unique defense diplomacy which aims to encourage the joint military drills, training, combat exercises, anti-terrorism mechanism and peacekeeping missions and last but not least, reduce strategic uncertainty.
In this regard, the armed forces of Kazakhstan have been successfully dealing with the new threats and challenges pertaining to terrorism, transnational organized crime, internal conflicts, security of information and communication technologies, epidemiological safety, public health and pharmaceutical issues, arms trafficking, and illicit drug flow.
According to official information, the Armed Forces of the Republic of Kazakhstan are the unified armed forces of Kazakhstan. It comprises of three branches (Ground Forces, Air Defense Forces, Naval Forces) as well as four independent formations (Air Assault Forces, Special Forces, Rocket and Artillery Forces, Territorial Troops). The National Guard, Civil Defense, Border Service and the State Security Service serve as militarized affiliates of the armed forces.
The Kazakhstan’s national defence policy aims are based on the Constitution of Kazakhstan. They guarantee the preservation of the independence and sovereignty of the state and the integrity of its land area, territorial waters and airspace and its constitutional order. The armed forces of Kazakhstan act under the authority of the Kazakhstan Ministry of Defence.
In this context, the military doctrine and strategy of Kazakhstan are designed to safeguard the core military and national safety interests of the country. Officially confirmed policy states that Kazakhstan will take military action against threats which affect the safety of the country; and would use all levers of state power to prevent conflict taking into consideration its political and economic priorities through interstate diplomacy.
Let us talk about the increasing military cooperation between Kazakhstan and Pakistan. In this regard, while visiting Nur Sultan Pakistan’s Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Gen. Nadeem Raza met with Kazakhstan’s Defense Minister Nurlan Yermekbayev and talked about current military cooperation between Kazakhstan and Pakistan, combat training, and joint deployment of troops in UN peacekeeping missions. Gen. Raza also visited the National Defense University of Kazakhstan.
The protocol meeting of Deputy Minister of Defense of the Republic of Kazakhstan, major general Mukhamedzhan Talassov with the delegation of the Pakistani defense delegation was held in the Kazakh capital, Nur-Sultan.
During the meeting, the sides discussed the state and prospects of military cooperation between Kazakhstan and Pakistan. The Pakistani delegation participated in the 6th session of the Joint Kazakhstan-Pakistan Military Commission. At the session, the sides summed up the results of joint work of the military agencies of Kazakhstan and Pakistan in 2021 and signed the Plan for bilateral military cooperation for 2022.
The new plan includes military training, military education and other spheres of military activity of mutual interest. As part of the visit to Kazakhstan, the Pakistani delegation also visited the Peacekeeping Training Center in Almaty city.
According to the ISPR, the Chairman JCSC had separate meetings with Defence Minister, Deputy Minister of Industry and Infrastructural Development and Chief of General Staff of Kazakhstan Armed Forces.
During the meetings, both sides thoroughly discussed and deliberated upon various areas of interest, bilateral cooperation including security, counter-terrorism and prevailing regional environment particularly with reference to Afghanistan.
Speaking on the occasion, General Nadeem Raza said Pakistan is keen to expand its existing bilateral military to military cooperation with Kazakhstan.
Pakistan and Kazakhstan enjoy cordial relations based on a common approach towards world issues as well as mutual understanding. Both countries reiterated the resolve to further enhance bilateral cooperation in the fields of trade, economy and defence.
Bilateral military cooperation between Kazakhstan and Pakistan is getting momentum. In this connection, the First Deputy Defence Minister/Chief of General Staff Armed Forces of Republic of Kazakhstan, Lieutenant General Khussainov Marat Rakhimovich visited Pakistan and was called on Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) General Nadeem Raza at Joint Staff Headquarters Rawalpindi.
According to Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), matters of bilateral strategic interest were thoroughly discussed. Both sides emphasized that evolving regional security situation particularly in Afghanistan and further strengthening of security and defence cooperation between the two brotherly countries should be jointly discussed on regular basis.
Lt Gen Khussainov Marat Rakhimovich praised the positive role of the armed forces of Pakistan for regional peace and stability and expressed the desire to further expand these brotherly relations with special focus on bilateral security, military exchanges and exercises.
General Nadeem Raza said that Pakistan is keen to expand its existing bilateral military-to-military cooperation with Kazakhstan as part of Pakistan’s ongoing upward trajectory in defence ties with the regional countries.
On the other hand, during a meeting between the president Arif Alvi and the visiting First Deputy Defence Minister/Chief of General Staff of Armed Forces of Kazakhstan, Lt Gen Khussainov Marat Rakhimovich to Pakistan both the sides emphasized the need to work together for the peace and prosperity of the region.
The President of Pakistan highlighted that tremendous opportunities of cooperation existed between the two countries needed to be capitalized upon for the mutual benefit of the two sides
Since bilateral military cooperation is on the rise, thus both countries have decided to hold joint military drills on regular basis. In this connection, the closing ceremony of Pakistan-Kazakhstan joint military exercise ‘Dostarym III’ was held at National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s Pabbi.
According to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) the exercise was aimed to develop, strengthen and bolster military cooperation between the two countries in the face of emerging counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency domains.
The special forces of both the countries rigorously participated in hostage and rescue, compound clearance, Heli Rappelling and Close Quarters Battle (CQB) and exchanged the first-hand experience and ideas.
Furthermore, the exercise was focused on integrated synergy, interoperability, quick decision making and swift action at the tactical level. It furthered reinforced the mutual cooperation and understanding between the two states to effectively counter the threats.
Major General Ahsan Gulrez, director-general military training graced the occasion as chief guest. Military officials of Kazakhstan were also present.
In this regard, the joint military drill between the two countries began on August 25. The first joint exercise was held in 2017 in Pakistan and the second in 2019 in Kazakhstan.
To conclude, Kazakhstan and Pakistan bilateral military cooperation is on the rise which provide win-win situation for both the countries. Both sides share better mutual understanding on regional peace, stability and harmony especially in Afghanistan.
Both sides emphasized to enhance military cooperation in joint military drills, security, Special Forces training, counter terrorism, joint combating and cooperation on non-state security threats and last but not least, regional peace and stability especially Afghanistan. Moreover, hostage and rescue, compound clearance, Heli Rappelling and Close Quarters Battle (CQB) and exchanged the first-hand experience and ideas will also be further strengthened between two armed forces in the days to come.
Both sides showed interest in developing a systematically arranged cooperation in military and military-technical domains. For this reason relationship between the defense ministries of two countries is one of the most developed and productive in the realm of Kazakh-Pak interstate cooperation in general. In this connection, the office of the Military attaché was opened at the Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan in Pakistan in 2002.
The bilateral military cooperation is based on the Memorandum of Understanding and Cooperation in the military field, which was signed on November 14, 2012 in Astana. According to the MOU the main areas of cooperation consisted, interaction in the field of military education; training of special forces units; military-technical cooperation (mutual visits to regularly held in Kazakhstan and Pakistan exhibitions of the defense industry “KADEX” and” IDEAS”, respectively).
Issues of coordination and organization of events in the military sphere are within the competence of the Joint Kazakh-Pakistani military Commission, the next 5th meeting (staff negotiations) of which was held on November 12-13, 2019 in Pakistan.
According to official information, since 2005, 38 military personnel and employees of the armed forces of Kazakhstan have been trained in military educational institutions in Pakistan. Many people completed the full course of training and 31 military personnel are in the course training system.
The professional courses on conducting peacekeeping operations and military observers at the Center for International Peace and Stability in Islamabad are particularly popular among Kazakh military personnel. Last time representatives of the Kazakh side took the training at these courses in March 2020.
A relatively new and promising area of Kazakh-Pakistani cooperation in the military field is the implementation of peacekeeping mission under the auspices of the United Nations, in which Pakistan has extensive experience.
Sustainable Kazakhstan-Pakistan military cooperation is the need of hour which would be a value-addition to bring peace in Afghanistan and crack-down on wandering terrorist sanctuaries, human & drugs trafficking and last but not least strategic military cooperation and partnership between two sides would be a right step in right direction.
(The author is Executive
Director: The Center for
South Asia & International Studies (CSAIS)
Expert: Kazakhstan & CIS)