Russia to boost ties with Pakistan

Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow and Islamabad will boost ties in the fight against terrorism, with Russia providing unspecified military equipment to Pakistan and the two holding joint exercises at sea and in the mountains. It’s the first visit by a Russian foreign minister in nine years, part of a warming of frosty ties. It comes as Moscow seeks to increase its stature in the region, particularly in Afghanistan, where it seeks to inject itself as a key player in bid to find a peaceful end to decades of war. “We stand ready to strengthen the anti-terrorist potential of Pakistan, including by supplying Pakistan with special military equipment,” he said, without giving details about the equipment.

A statement from the Pakistan military after Lavrov’s talks with army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, said they discussed “enhanced defence and security cooperation, regional security, particularly Afghan peace process”. Bajwa also reportedly told Lavrov that Pakistan wants regional cooperation, though he did not mention Pakistan’s uneasy relationship with neighbour India.

Russia is also building a gas pipeline between Karachi and Lahore. Islamabad will also buy 5 million doses of the Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine

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