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Russia, India, Pakistan: ‘A Love Triangle’ – OpEd


Russia is playing its political “chess games” not only with the U.S. and Europe. It also wants to play prominent role in South Asia, where Russia has its strategic interests either.

In early November, the Pakistani newspaper The Express Tribune reported on Islamabad’s decision to repay Moscow debt.

On December, 2 Russia and Pakistan signed an agreement on settlement of mutual financial claims and commitments on operations of the former Soviet Union, whereby Pakistan will repay the debt of $93.5 mln to Russia. The document was signed by Russian Deputy Minister of Finance Sergei Storchak and Pakistani Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Russia Qazi Khalilullah.

In the 1980s, Soviet enterprises purchased textiles and other materials from Pakistani companies. To ensure the functioning of barter trade, the USSR opened two accounts in the National Bank of Pakistan. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Pakistani exporters stated that part of their goods had not been paid, and the dispute led to the freezing of 105 million dollars from Russian accounts in the Bank of Pakistan in 1996.

According to The Express Tribune sources, the payment of the debt will allow Russia to invest in various sectors of the economy of Pakistan.
In connection with this event it is worth considering the Pakistan’s strong interest to sign a deal to purchase military hardware worth billions of dollars from Russia.

According to some reports, the deal is expected to amount $9 billion under which Islamabad would purchase heavy and medium fighter jets, medium and short-range air defense systems, tanks, combat helicopters, and warships.

Currently, China is the largest arms supplier to Pakistan. From 2014 to 2018, China sold weapons for 6.4 billion dollars. The second place in the supply of weapons is held by the United States, which concluded contracts worth 2.5 billion dollars. The third is Italy, which sold weapons in the amount of 471 million dollars. If the $9 billion contract would be signed, Russia will become the number one arms exporter to Pakistan.

In this case relations between two South Asia’s countries India and Pakistan would get even more complicated.

While India and Pakistan share common historical, cultural, geographic and economic ties, their relationship is full of hostility and suspicion.

The matter is some time ago India preferred French 4th generation Rafale fighters instead of Russian Su-30MKI fighters. Probably, Pakistan wants to become Russia’s closer partner than India. It can be assumed that by repaying a debt, Islamabad dreams to gain loyalty from Moscow. Obviously, Pakistan wants to play on the contradictions between India and Russia and reduce the importance of India as a strategic partner of Russia while increasing its own importance.

This “love triangle” could change the situation on world arms market as well as political landscape in the region.

Adomas Abromaitis

Adomas Abromaitis

Adomas Abromaitis is a Lithuanian expatriate living in the United Kingdom.

One thought on “Russia, India, Pakistan: ‘A Love Triangle’ – OpEd

  • Avatar
    December 5, 2019 at 11:15 pm

    Wrong interpretation. I’m in Russia since 1990, watching everything from Inside.

    This deal can open gates for making gas pipelines from Iran and Turkmenistan to India via Pakistan and some business relationship – mainly in other fields than arms. Arms deal may go in small amounts like some old model helicopters etc which will not threat security of India

    Reasons are:
    1. Only Russia can convince India for pipelines.
    2. Russia doesn’t believe Pakistan due to its role in Afghanistan and its behaviour.
    3. Pakistan can’t buy weapons like India even in long run. Russia is going for joint ventures in arms industry with India.
    4. As US is leaving Afghanistan – via Afghanistan drugs flow to Russia which Russia want to check as well as its position is being stronger in middle east so it’ll keep open some gates to check trouble child Pakistan.
    5. Russia was more inclined towards India since 1947. Neither Russia nor India will go far away with each other. Last days there is close ties between China and Russia, but Russia has pulled itself out from CPEC in Pakistan for India.


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