Russian defence minister arrives in Pakistan to discuss defence cooperation

Updated November 20, 2014

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This picture shows Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, speaking with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, left, during his visit to the Crimean port of Sevastopol. — AFP/File
This picture shows Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, speaking with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, left, during his visit to the Crimean port of Sevastopol. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu arrived on a day-long visit to Pakistan on Thursday which is aimed at discussing bilateral defence cooperation with the Pakistani leadership.

During his short stay in Islamabad, the Russian defence minister would meet Prime Minister Nawaz at his official residence in the federal capital and discuss issues related to security and defence cooperation between Pakistan and the Russia.

Both sides are expected to sign an important memorandum of understanding (MoU) on defence cooperation. This will be the first visit to Pakistan by a Russian defence minister in recent past.

Read: Pakistan, Russia to enhance cooperation

Russia and Pakistan have lately been working on enhancing defence cooperation and are believed to have already covered a lot of ground. Exchange of visits by military commanders in recent years is an indication of progress achieved in this regard.

India’s decision to enter into tighter embrace with the US had prompted Russia to rethink its defence relationship with Pakistan.

The visit also comes against the backdrop of reports that Moscow had given go-ahead for sale of MI-35 helicopters to Pakistan, which is interested in purchasing up to 20 helicopters.

Russia acknowledges Pakistan's efforts countering terrorism

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and his Pakistani counterpart Khawaja Asif held formal talks at the Ministry of Defence in Rawalpindi.

Read: Deal to sell MI-35 helicopters 'politically approved', says Russian envoy

Official sources told Dawn that during the meeting, Pakistan apprised the Russian defence minister about recent security situation in the region including the country's fight against terrorists and post-withdrawal of Nato-US forces from Afghanistan and the situation with India at the Line of Control (LoC).

Both the ministers agreed that bilateral cooperation between Russia and Pakistan in the field of security and defence needs to be further enhanced.

Shoigu lauded Pakistan's efforts in countering terrorism and said Russia acknowledged sacrifices made by the people of Pakistan and its security forces.