For the last few decades President Putin has been warm to Pakistan which has led to increased expectations from Pakistan. The bilateral ties have witnessed many ups and downs however the recent positive trending relations between Russia and Pakistan is quite a new phenomenon. A number of significant changes have been seen in the foreign policy of both states which finally reached a level of joint collaboration for the stability in South Asia. Russia has special place in the foreign policy of Pakistan therefore the relations between both states are steadily growing.
A few days back a visible shift has been seen, both states stepped forward to sign Memorandum of Understanding on the recent visit in August of Pakistan’s chief of naval staff Vice admiral Kaleem Shaukat to Russia. Both states enthusiastically showed their responses over the naval collaboration and security environment and concluded to carry out wide range of joint military exercises in Pakistan along with the training of armed personals in navy. However, the naval cooperation of both states has led to a new diplomatic venture which might compel India to intervene and cause hurdles in the way.
Significant initiatives have been taken by President Putin to revive its state policy towards Pakistan soon after his fourth turn this year on May 7. Pakistan also showed an immediate response to the Russian leader with great optimism to work as close partners. Both states showed positive act, leaving behind past bitterness, grudges and stepped towards the new phase of their relationship.
According to Russian incentives Pakistan is a huge economic market that would further revive its economic and defense policy in future. Currently Pakistan is also trying to find ways to further strengthen its relations with Russia, therefore the negotiations over the purchase of Russian SU-35 fighter jets are going on between them along with Pakistan’s desire to buy T-90 tanks from Russia as part of already concerned long term deal between both states.
Moreover the Shanghai Cooperation Organization seems influential in connecting all regional states; a useful forum for mutual benefit as is evident from the exercise of “Peace Mission 2018” introduced by Russia under the agreement of SCO to conduct anti terrorist activities in different parts of South Asian region.
Ambassador of Russian Federation H.E. Alexy Y. Dedov to Pakistan conveyed message of President Putin to newly apointed Prime Minister Imran Khan that Pakistan should improve its economic relations as well as people to people contact, cultural exchange and educational trips between both states. In order to foster ties in coming future, President Putin should also plan and try to visit Pakistan.
Russia-Pakistan has collectively same objectives regarding the peace of South Asian region and moreover the diplomatic stance on containing terrorism from Afghanistan and over the US decision to abandon its nuclear deal with Iran.
Leaving the bitterness of the Cold War behind, both states have converging interests in Afghanistan and are collaboratively working on the peace mission to overcome the threats of ISIS. The multi-dimensional ties of both states can further be enhanced by providing incentives to the Russian companies for the economic investments in energy sector of Pakistan. Russia under the leadership of President Putin has further revived the terms by signing military cooperation pact with Pakistan, delivery of Russian helicopters, training to Pakistani officers at Russian institutes and mainly the new turning point is the Russian language radio service with broadcasting to be introduced in Pakistan.
Looking back at the whole scenario of past relations of Russia-Pakistan, one can easily say that there is no true friend and enemy in geopolitics. As China has also shown its interests in coming closer to Russia, India will face a visible defeat if Russia-Pakistan and China make an alliance. Soon a turning shift will likely to happen after Iran has shown its will to join the alliance of Russia-Pakistan and China which is a threatening alarm for India.
*Venita Christopher, Researcher from Strategic Vision Institute, Islamabad