Russo-Pak ties sending waves of fears to India?
By Varonica Kharakov for Dispatch News Desk
Moscow: “I am glad that we (Russia and Pakistan) have resumed our cooperation and I hope it will be dynamic and diversified”.
These were comments of the Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday who received Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu in his government residence and expressed satisfaction with the resumption of military cooperation between Moscow and Islamabad.
This was the first visit by Russia’s defense minister to Pakistan after the collapse of the former Soviet Union. The latest visit took place as far back as 1969, when USSR Defense Minister Andrey Grechko made a trip to the country.
Russian media has strongly promoted this meeting and appreciated Pakistani Prime Minister highly for his understanding to issues relations with Russia.
Russia is working since long to extend its reach to South Asia because Russia has only one long-time friend in South Asia that is India but Indian relations towards West are more stronger than its relation with Russia now because millions of Indians are working in North America and Europe and last 30 years have changed Indo-Russo relations altogether. Indian financial and business interests are more in Western world then in Eastern Europe or in Russia. This situation is compelling Russia to get more friends in South Asia and also in South East Asia. Russian President Putin is giving extraordinary importance to “Reaching East strategy”. President Putin was planning to visit Pakistan two years ago but visit did not take place because Pakistan was massively involved with United States due to extreme security situation. Now Pakistan is dealing terrorists through its own army very effectively and very successfully and its dependence on US for dealing with terrorism is not even 10% today.
Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu strongly appreciated Pakistan Army and its skills to counter terrorism during his meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Khawaja Asif in Rawalpindi. During their meeting on Thursday, Russia offered Pakistan to expand the practice of calls by warships at ports in Russia and Pakistan. This is the beginning of Russo-Pak Navel naval co-operation. Russian news agency ITAR TASS reported that other opportunities for broader bilateral military cooperation were also discussed at talks, particularly a rise in exchange of delegation visits, participation in military exercises as observers, training of military staff, sharing of experience in peacekeeping and the fight against terrorism and piracy.
While talking to Russian media, Shoigu said:
“Talks with Asif were held in a constructive and friendly atmosphere, Shoigu noted. “This approach promotes consistent intensification of military cooperation between Russia and Pakistan”.
The Russian defense minister thanked the Pakistani counterpart for an invitation to visit Islamabad and Pakistan’s consent to participate in competitions of pilots and tank operators in 2015.
“I hope that our close cooperation will continue,” Shoigu added.
It may be mentioned that Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu and his Pakistani counterpart Khawaja Asif signed a deal on military cooperation on Thursday in Pakistan’s capital Islamabad.
Shoigu said after talks with Pakistan’s defense minister that the agreement is an important step towards strengthening ties between Moscow and Islamabad in the military sphere.
“During the meeting, we agreed that bilateral military cooperation should have a great practical focus and contribute to increasing combat efficiency of our armed forces,” Shoigu said.
Shoigu earlier expressed confidence that the implementation of this agreement will give an additional impetus to all the aspects of Russia-Tajikistan cooperation.
Russia media reported that Russia and Pakistan will fight terrorism and drugs issues together in future and will pool efforts against terrorism and drug trafficking with due account of the current situation in Afghanistan.
It was learnt through Russian Foreign office circles that Pakistan and Russia have similar about possible dangers region can face after the departure of NATO forces from Afghanistan.
Indian circles in Moscow are curious about this latest development and waiting for official response from ministry of Defence and Ministry of foreign affairs of Russia because sources claim that there is possibility that Russia did not taken India into confidence before initiating so close relations with arch rival of India that is Pakistan as both neighbours fought three wars in past and Pakistan lost one of its part that was called as East Pakistan and now world knows it as Bangladesh.
Former Soviet Union (CCP) that is known as USSR by the world in West was very close ally of India and USSR played a role to shun tension between India and Pakistan through Tashkent accord. However, the relations of today’s Russian Federation have not been stable due to strong alignment of Pakistani civil and military bureaucracy towards United States in Pakistan. However, recent Military leadership of Pakistan is very much inclined to development lasting and strong relations with Russia.
This is pertinent to mention that Pakistan during the last two years always helps Russia at international forums including at United Nations. Russian foreign office circles believe that this is right time to develop concrete and solid relations with Pakistan that had been instrumental in Rossu-Afghan war because of weak the then USSR-Pak relations and Kremlin tilt towards India.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Dispatch News Desk. Varonica Kharakov is research scholor working in the field of regional strategic relations and assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of Dispatch News Desk.