Pakistan & Russia get cosy

Pakistan and Russia held their first ever consultation in Islamabad, a wide range of regional issues and key areas of mutual interest including economic cooperation and connectivity were discussed.
Director general (West Asia), ministry of foreign affairs, Ahmad Hassain Dayo, led the Pakistani side while Alexander V Sternik, third CIS department head at the Russian ministry of foreign affairs, led the delegation from Moscow.
In September, Russian and Pakistani troops had held their first-ever joint military exercises in the special services group (SSG) training centre in Cherat in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
The joint drill, named `Friendship 2016', was seen as a step in the growing military-to-military cooperation between the two countries that remained rivals for decades during the Cold War.
Pakistan's decision to develop closer ties to Russia was taken after the 2011 killing of al-Qaida chief, Osama bin laden, in a secret military operation by US in Abbottabad, followed by the killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers the same year in Nato airstrikes on a check post along the Durand Line, Pakistan's disputed border with Afghanistan. Following the two incidents, a joint session of the parliament approved new foreign policy guidelines, which included reaching out to Russia.
To please India, its longterm ally , Moscow had ignored Islamabad for long. But with New Delhi's growing inclination towards Washington, Russia has now begun expanding cooperation with Islamabad.
During the last 15 months, Pakistan's Army , Navy and Air Force chiefs travelled to Russia and the exchanges resulted in the signing of a deal between the two countries for the purchase of four MI-35 attack helicopters. Not only that, Islamabad is also considering purchase of advanced Russian war-planes. During his visit to Moscow in July , Pakistan's chief of air staff, Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman, discussed purchase of Su-35 fighter jets with his Russian counterpart. The move was considered a major policy shift on part of Russia in the wake of growing strategic partnership between the US and India.

No comments: