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Steppe Eagle Drill to Start in Kazakhstan on April 6


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ASTANA (Interfax-Kazakhstan) – The Steppe Eagle-2015 international peacekeeping multilateral military exercises will start on April 6 at the Ile (Iliisky) training centre in Almaty region. Military personnel from Kazakhstan, the USA, the UK, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan will participate in the manoeuvres, the press office of Kazakhstan’s defence ministry has reported.

Steppe Eagle 2014
(Credit: U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Tracy R. Myers, U.S. Army Central)

The Steppe Eagle is annually held within the individual Kazakhstan-NATO framework linked to the NATO Partnership for Peace program and aimed at boosting the level of operational compatibility of Kazakhstan’s Kazbrig unit under the international command. This year’s exercises will be held in two stages. The 1st stage will take place on April 6-17 when participants’ companies will practice fulfilling tasks. The 2nd stage is scheduled for this June.

Major General Daulet Ospanov, commander of Kazakhstan’s airmobile troops, will take part in an opening ceremony of the drill.

Although Kazakhstan does not currently face a conventional military threat from another nation state, the country is challenged by trans-national security threats such as narcotics trafficking, ethnic unrest and terrorism. The revival of Kazakhstan’s economy since the late 1990s, combined with the post-9/11 influx of foreign militaries into Central Asia and the Caspian region, has enabled the government to pursue its objective of developing a dual-purpose military, one capable of both self-defence and promoting international peace and security. The country’s growing military capabilities, combined with the government’s fundamental foreign policy principle that Kazakhstan requires a secure environment to develop politically and economically, has induced Kazakhstan to pursue capabilities that that can be used outside the country’s national borders in support of broader regional security objectives, including peacekeeping and post-conflict reconstruction missions.

However, Kazakhstan’s armed forces have developed extensive ties with Russia and the two defence establishments share doctrine, weapons, and training. Almost all of Kazakhstan’s military units have greater interoperability with Russian forces than with NATO. Astana’s only military alliance is the Moscow-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), through which Russia provides its members extended security guarantees against external threats. After Russia, Kazakhstan provides the most military personnel to the CSTO’s elite collective units. As a CSTO member, Kazakhstan is eligible to purchase some Russian military equipment at wholesale prices. Russia and Kazakhstan have joint air defence and other partnered units and missions.

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