Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has been sworn in as Kazakhstan’s president on Wednesday.
The swearing-in ceremony in the Independence Palace saw participation of high-profile officials from Kazakhstan, including former President Nursultan Nazarbayev, lawmakers and ambassadors in Kazakhstan.
Addressing the participants, Tokayev vowed to serve people "fairly", to abide by the laws and guarantee the rights and freedom of the citizens.
Tokayev, 66, was elected Kazakhstan’s president in an early election on June 9 by receiving 70.96% of the votes.
He had taken the reins as acting president a day after the resignation of Nursultan Nazarbayev in March and announced the oil-rich Central Asian country would hold early election June 9.
Leaders arrive for SCO summit in Bishkek
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) -- touted as Asian NATO -- is holding its 19th summit, beginning Thursday in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek.Among others, the leaders of member states attending the two-day summit, include Chinese President Xi Jinping, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan.The summit carries particular significance in the wake of a global trade war between China and the U.S. It will also provide an opportunity for Indian and Pakistani leaders to interact first time, since last February when their armed forces engaged each other in aerial "dog fights". However, New Delhi has clarified that no bilateral meeting is scheduled between Modi and Khan.Briefing about the summit, a senior Indian official said in New Delhi that PM Modi will seek cooperation between the member states to end the menace of terrorism in the region. China on Monday had advised the SCO members to refrain from targeting any country.Iran scrambles to lift petrochemical sales as sanctions hammer oilPakistan: Khan government unveils its first budgetIran, participating as an observer state, will be seeking an audience with Asian countries over crippling sanctions imposed by Washington on its oil market.The summit assumes further significance as it is taking place just a fortnight ahead of the meeting of the heads of G20 countries, scheduled in Japan's province of Osaka on June 28-29. All eyes are also on the bilateral meeting between Russian Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart on the sidelines of the summit.The outcome at the SCO as well as the bilateral meeting between Russian and Chinese leaders may help Asian nations to put up a common position on various issues at the G20 summit.What is the SCO?Formed in April 1996, the SCO is a China-led political, economic and security bloc comprising eight members -- China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan.Kyrgyzstan President Sooronbay Jeenbekov is currently heading the organization.The SCO represents around 42% of the world’s population, 22% of its land area and around 20% of GDP.Russian missile shield long owned by NATO alliesIndia to evacuate thousands as cyclone nears west coastThe Bishkek SummitThe Council of Heads of States is the apex decision-making body in the SCO, which holds annual meetings in one of the member states' capitals.The Council of Foreign Ministers holds regular meetings, where international situation and the SCO's interaction with other international organizations are discussed.Besides, the Council of National Coordinators coordinates the multilateral cooperation of member states within the framework of the SCO's charter.A delegation-level meeting is also planned with the participation of the four SCO observer states: Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia.The SCO also recognizes six "dialogue partners”. They are -- Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Turkey -- the only NATO member in the group.Agenda-settingCritical issues including global security, multilateral economic cooperation and people to people exchanges are discussed at the SCO summits. The agenda is set on the basis of consensus, instead of voting.The organization aims to strengthen cooperation between member states on security-related concerns, resolve border disputes and enhance military cooperation, intelligence sharing, and counter-terrorism efforts.Tens of thousands of protesters force delay in Hong Kong extradition bill debateTesla is serious about a possible record quarter, not so serious about a submarine carDefense cooperationDefense ministers also hold annual meetings in accordance with a defense pact among SCO members. The last such meeting was held in Bishkek on April 29-30, 2019.Aside from this, a Tashkent-based Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) also functions under the SCO.The RATS is considered an important body under which member-states cooperate and exchange information related to anti-terrorism operations.SCO-Afghanistan Contact GroupThe SCO signed a protocol with war-torn Afghanistan during the SCO Heads of State summit in Qingdao, China on June 9-10, 2018 to establish the Afghanistan Contact Group.It is a consultative mechanism for developing proposals and recommendations to support government and public efforts to establish a peaceful, stable and economically prosperous Afghanistan free from terrorism and extremism.Suspect released in Russian envoy murder caseUS stops Turkish pilots currently training on F-35s‘Separating terror groups, opposition key in Idlib issue’US, Turkish defense chiefs to discuss S-400 row
Russian missile shield long owned by NATO allies
At least three NATO members have been using Russian air missile defense systems over the years, even as the U.S. steps up pressure on Turkey and India to withdraw from their own purchases of such hardware. With India having inked a deal with Moscow in October 2018 following wide-ranging talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to buy S-400 missile defense systems, deliveries are scheduled to commence in October 2020 and to be completed by April 2023. Turkey, which began negotiations for the purchase in 2017, is likely to receive its first batch over the next two months.With NATO ally Turkey, Washington's main objection to the planned deployment of Russian systems is that they would not be compatible with NATO equipment and would pose a threat to the U.S. manufacturer Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighter jets, of which Turkey is a prospective buyer and partner in development and production.Russia has so far sold the earlier version of the S-300 system to some 20 countries, including the NATO member countries such as Bulgaria, Greece and Slovakia. The S-300 missiles are currently an integrated part of the air defenses of Greece -- a NATO nation -- and have also been deployed in Greek Cyprus.Experts believe that NATO forces and their jets are exposed to radar systems deployed in Greece as much as they could be from the missile shield deployed in Turkey. It is believed that the U.S. itself had purchased an S-300 air defense system in 1994 from Belarus. The New York Times reported however that this was meant to examine the system, to modernize its own Patriot air defense shield.The S-400 Triumf missile system was developed by Russia's Almaz Central Design Bureau as an upgrade of the S-300 model and carry surface-to-air missiles capable of targeting a variety of aircraft from distances ranging from 40 to 400 kilometers (250 to 25 miles). It is described as the best air-defense system in the world at present.-Advantages of the S-400S-400 missiles are equipped with state-of-art radar systems, which provide sector search and fine tracking capabilities with a mobile radar station that has a detection range between 65 and 1,200 km (40-746 miles), and a current maximum capacity of 100 targets.While U.S.-made fifth generation fighter jets, such as the F-35 were designed to penetrate the S-400's, it is believed that other planes such as the F-16 and F-18 versions are not capable to dodge the system.Operationally, each S-400 battalion comprises of two batteries with four launchers each for a total of 40 launchers on five regiments -- enough to protect two to three major cities. They are designed to be able to destroy all aerial objects including airplanes, helicopters, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles.- S-400 international deploymentsRussia currently has five S-400 regiments deployed across its territory: two in Moscow and one each in the Pacific, Baltic and Southern Military Districts with further plans for 28 more regiments by 2020, each comprising of two or three battalions with four systems each, mainly in maritime and border areas. Syria, Belarus and China also currently own S-400 systems.Russia has been training Chinese military personnel on the use of the air defense system for several years. China was the first international customer to place an order in 2014, worth $3 billion.While Turkey and India may be in the media limelight, other U.S. allies currently negotiating with Moscow for the hardware include Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iraq and Qatar. In February 2017, Sergey Chemezov, CEO of Rostec Corporation -- the state-owned firm producing the S-400 -- stated that Egypt was interested in the S-400 air defence system. But the negotiations were delayed due to Egypt's financial issues.-S-300 missile system deployed in 17 countries including NATO alliesThe earlier version of the S-400 system uses identical radar system is currently in the possession of 17 countries including Greece, Slovakia and Bulgaria -- all U.S. allies. Ukraine, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Egypt, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Georgia, Moldova, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan also have the S-300.