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Kazakhstan and Malaysia Think Tanks Join Forces for Strategic Cooperation


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The Central Asian Security and Cooperation Forum, scheduled to take place on July 13-14 in Astana, serves as a pivotal platform for the Kazakhstan Institute for Strategic Studies (KazISS) and the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) Malaysia to delve into potential areas of collaboration. This article highlights the shared objectives and commonalities between Kazakhstan and Malaysia, the significance of their diplomatic relations, and the prospects for strategic partnership as identified by Alizan Mahadi, the Senior Director of ISIS Malaysia.


Building Strategic Partnerships:

Alizan Mahadi envisions a strategic partnership between Kazakhstan and Malaysia, emphasizing the similarities in their national interests and regional roles. ISIS Malaysia, as a leading Malaysian think tank, focuses on various areas, including foreign policy, security, economics, social policy, sustainability studies, and fostering regional integration. Mahadi underscores the importance of platforms such as the Asia Pacific Roundtable for experts to exchange views on security and foreign policy matters. Moreover, ISIS Malaysia actively engages in networks like the ASEAN Institutes of Strategic International Studies, the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council, and the Network of East Asian Think-Tanks to collaborate with regional partners.


Collaboration Opportunities with KazISS:

Alizan Mahadi acknowledges the significant potential for collaboration between ISIS Malaysia and KazISS due to their shared functions and involvement in government-to-government discussions. He emphasizes the value of joint research initiatives and the exchange of ideas that would benefit both countries from strategic and developmental perspectives. Mahadi emphasizes the need for countries with commonalities to engage in direct dialogue, especially in the face of shifting geopolitical landscapes. He highlights Kazakhstan and Malaysia as Asian Muslim nations, sharing a similar stance on pressing international issues such as counterterrorism, combating drug trafficking, and the development of international laws and norms.


Bilateral Relations: Past and Present:

Diplomatic relations between Kazakhstan and Malaysia were established in 1992, shortly after Kazakhstan declared independence in 1991. These relations have evolved into a comprehensive partnership, offering extensive collaboration opportunities in trade, inter-parliamentary cooperation, science and technology, cultural exchanges, law enforcement, and participation in international conferences and forums. Mahadi mentions the mutual trade between the two nations, which reached $100 million in the previous year, with Malaysia exporting electrical and electronic products, rubber, agricultural products, and palm oil, while Kazakhstan exports industrial goods like chromium oxides and hydroxides.


Expanding Cooperation:

Beyond economic ties, Malaysia and Kazakhstan are also expanding cooperation in education, science, and tourism. Initiatives such as the Kazakhstan innovation joint working group on higher education foster academic collaboration, while the increasing flow of tourists between the two countries strengthens cultural ties. Mahadi highlights the Malaysia Kazakhstan Business Council as a key player in promoting bilateral economic relations.


Central Asian Security and Cooperation Forum:

The upcoming Central Asian Security and Cooperation Forum provides a platform for prominent thinkers and political scientists from 25 countries to discuss pressing issues related to global security, Eurasia’s interconnectedness, innovation competition, artificial intelligence, and human capital. Mahadi expects the forum to facilitate discussions on strengthening cooperation between Central Asia and ASEAN, as well as among small and medium powers worldwide, as they jointly address geopolitical and geo-economic tensions.



The Central Asian Security and Cooperation Forum serves as a catalyst for exploring collaboration opportunities between Kazakhstan and Malaysia. With their shared interests and commonalities, these nations aim to forge a strategic partnership that encompasses various fields, including trade, education, science, and tourism. As small and medium powers, Kazakhstan and Malaysia recognize the importance of regional cooperation and dialogue to address global challenges. Through platforms like the forum, they aspire to contribute to a more interconnected and prosperous future for Asia and beyond.

M Moiz
M Moiz
M Moiz, is Research Student at Islamabad research Institute and work with THE THINK TANK JOURNAL

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