Relations with Kazakhstan

  • Last updated: 23 May. 2022 15:32

NATO and Kazakhstan actively cooperate on democratic, institutional and defence reforms, and have developed practical cooperation in many other areas.

Views of the Palace of Independence, Astana, Kazakhstan


  • Relations with Kazakhstan started in 1992, when the country joined the North Atlantic Cooperation Council. This forum for dialogue was succeeded in 1997 by the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, which brings together all Allies and partner countries in the Euro-Atlantic area.
  • Practical cooperation began when Kazakhstan joined the Partnership for Peace (PfP) programme in 1995.
  • Kazakhstan sets out its reform plans and timelines in its Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP), which is agreed for a two-year period. NATO supports Kazakhstan in achieving these reform goals by providing focused, country-specific advice and assistance.
  • The NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia conducts high-level political dialogue with Kazakhstan’s authorities through regular visits to the country.

Key areas of cooperation

Kazakhstan’s cooperation with NATO is mutually beneficial and includes:

Building capabilities and interoperability

  • Kazakhstan’s participation in the PfP Planning and Review Process since 2002 has helped develop the interoperability between elements of its armed forces and those of NATO Allies. Joint work continues on the further development of a peacekeeping regiment to work alongside NATO Allies.
  • Kazakhstan plays an active role in both hosting and participating in PfP training and exercises. Since 2006, in cooperation with NATO Allies and regional partners, Kazakhstan has hosted annual military exercises called “Steppe Eagle”.
  • Kazakhstan’s PfP Training Centre (KAZCENT) was accredited by NATO as a Partnership Training and Education Centre in December 2010. KAZCENT offers annual courses open to Allies and partner countries on military English and NATO staff procedures, and a familiarisation course on the history, economy and culture of Central Asia and Afghanistan.  Moreover, two United Nations courses were certified in 2018.
  • NATO’s Defence Education Enhancement Programme (DEEP) began working in Kazakhstan in 2007 with the Kazakhstan National Defence University, helping ensure that programmes and methodologies meet international standards. Cooperation was later expanded to include KAZCENT, the Non-Commissioned Officer Training Centre and the Army Defence Institute. DEEP programmes in support of KAZCENT, the Non-Commissioned Officer Training Centre, and the Army Defence Institute have all successfully concluded, while support for the National Defence University remains ongoing.
  • Since 2014, under the Partnership Interoperability Initiative, Kazakhstan has participated in the Interoperability Platform, which brings Allies together with selected partners that are active contributors to NATO’s operations.

Wider cooperation

  • Kazakhstan is enhancing its national civil preparedness and disaster management capabilities in cooperation with NATO, and through participation in activities organised by the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC). Kazakhstan participated in five consequence management field exercises (2003-2012) and the country hosted the EADRCC’s “ZHETSYU” exercise near Almaty in 2009. Kazakhstan also offered assistance to Allies and partner countries affected by natural and man-made disasters, following eight urgent EADRCC requests for international assistance.
  • Kazakhstan has been actively engaged within the framework of the NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme since 1993. At present, the leading areas for cooperation include environmental security and defence against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear agents.
  • Increasing public awareness of NATO and the benefits of its relations with Kazakhstan is also an important area of cooperation.