14:45 GMT +316 February 2019
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    Kazakhstan drafts mid-term Navy strategy

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    ASTANA, March 26 (RIA Novosti) - Kazakhstan is developing a new naval strategy through 2025, the Defense Ministry said Monday.

    "The strategy's main objectives include providing the country's Navy with enough ships and building coastal infrastructure to ensure the security of the Caspian Sea," the ministry said in a news release.

    It said the draft strategy was discussed Monday at a Defense Ministry meeting chaired by Danial Akhmetov, who became the Central Asian republic's first civilian defense minister in January 2007.

    The strategy comprises three stages: 2007-2010, 2011-2015, and 2016-2025.

    Akhmetov said a final draft specifying measures to restructure the Navy will be submitted in a week's time.

    Last week, he said Kazakhstan plans to upgrade its Armed Forces with modern precision-guided weapons in the near future.

    Kazakhstan is also drafting a new military doctrine, and President Nursultan Nazarbayev recently signed a decree approving a state program to modernize the Kazakh military by 2015.

    "As the structure of combat assets is changing, we will, in response, change our approach toward the employment of these weapons," Akhmetov said.

    "We need to rely on pinpoint strikes with precision-guided weapons," he said, adding that the new military doctrine will prioritize advanced weaponry, automated battlefield command-and-control systems, and new technologies.

    Kazakhstan has long opted for the development of a highly efficient professional military. With an 87,000-strong military, conscripts account for only 15-20% of total manpower.

    High energy-export revenues have enabled the former Soviet republic to achieve fast economic development rates, with an average annual GDP growth of 9-10%, and to significantly increase defense spending over the past few years.

    In 2007, Kazakhstan's military budget doubled over the previous year, to exceed $1.2 billion, according to RBC daily.

    Some experts believe that a sharp increase in Kazakhstan's defense spending reflects the country's concern about the deterioration of the geopolitical situation in the region.

    An ongoing U.S.-led antiterrorism operation in Afghanistan, Iran's nuclear ambitions, a volatile situation in Iraq, and the rise of Islamic extremism in neighboring Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan jeopardize the country's energy security.

    With rising security concerns in Central Asia, Kazakhstan will seek closer military-technical cooperation with foreign countries, especially its neighbors, including Russia, the minister said.

    Kazakhstan is a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a post-Soviet regional security group, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, another regional security and economic alliance in Asia comprising Russia, China, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.

    CSTO members - Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan - use the organization as a platform to fight drug trafficking, terrorism, and organized crime, and have pledged to provide immediate military assistance to one another in the event of an attack.

    The bloc has a Collective Rapid Reaction Force deployed in Central Asia, and is continuing to build up its military forces.