Pakistan, Russia sign landmark defence cooperation agreement

Published November 21, 2014
Islamabad: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif meets Russian Defence Minister Gen Sergey Shoigu at the PM House here on Thursday.
Islamabad: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif meets Russian Defence Minister Gen Sergey Shoigu at the PM House here on Thursday.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Russia signed a defence cooperation agreement on Thursday.

Signed by Defence Minister Khawaja Asif and his Russian counterpart Sergey Shoigu, the agreement was hailed by Pakistan’s defence ministry as “a milestone” in defence ties between the two countries.

Mr Shoigu is in Islamabad on the first visit by Russian defence minister to Pakistan since the collapse of the Soviet Union. He is accompanied by a 41-member delegation.

The agreement provides for exchange of information on politico-military issues; cooperation for promoting international security; intensification of counter-terrorism and arms control activities; strengthening collaboration in various military fields, including education, medicine, history, topography, hydrography and culture; and sharing experiences in peacekeeping operations.

The two sides discussed joint efforts for fighting international terrorism and drug trafficking.

The hype surrounding the defence agreement, notwithstanding, there were no specific agreements on procurement or joint ventures. A recent statement by Russian Ambassador to Pakistan Alexey Dedov that Moscow had “politically approved” a deal for MI-35 helicopter had raised hopes of a major agreement during the defence minister’s visit.

“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,” Mr Shoigu was quoted by ITAR-TASS as having said.

“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,” the Russian defence minister said, adding that implementation of the agreement would bolster other aspects of bilateral cooperation.

Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said in a statement that “both sides will translate this relationship in tangible terms and further strengthen military to military relations”.

Later, Mr Shoigu called on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

“Pakistan is keen to enhance its multi-dimensional relations with Moscow, including defence,” Mr Sharif told the Russian minister.

The prime minister appreciated Russia’s support for Pakistan’s candidature for full membership of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). He said Pakistan was ready to enhance cooperation with other countries of the region, through SCO for countering dual challenges of terrorism and drug trafficking.

In reply to a question at a briefing, Foreign Office spokesperson Tasneem Aslam said Pakistan looked at Russia as an important global player with a role in this region’s peace and stability.

“We have been forging very good cooperation. Our bilateral relations are on an upward trajectory and it’s not just defence, we are looking at cooperation across the board.”

She said Islamabad wanted greater Russian participation in economic development projects and investment in Pakistan. “There are various initiatives in the works.”

Published in Dawn, November 21st, 2014

Opinion

A decade of change & stagnation
20 Sep 2021

A decade of change & stagnation

Over a decade, three more women out of 100 aged between 19 and 39 have acquired college degrees, compared to only two more men...
All about life
20 Sep 2021

All about life

Absence of life skills in the SNC must be rectified.
‘Honourable men’
20 Sep 2021

‘Honourable men’

Is it ambition to support our athletes only after they bring us glory?
Concerns of proxy wars
Updated 19 Sep 2021

Concerns of proxy wars

A lobby in the US favours a plan for proxy warfare so that America can sustain its global influence.

Editorial

20 Sep 2021

Banking for women

AS the old adage goes, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. How far the new State Bank initiative —...
Off the red list
Updated 20 Sep 2021

Off the red list

There are aspects of coronavirus management, especially by developed nations towards those less so, that smack of discrimination.
20 Sep 2021

Exciting frontiers

HISTORY was made on Wednesday at the Kennedy Space Centre in Cape Canaveral. It was not the launch of the first, or...
Talking to the Taliban
Updated 19 Sep 2021

Talking to the Taliban

PRIME Minister Imran Khan has announced that he has started a dialogue with the Taliban for the formation of a...
New Zealand’s departure
Updated 19 Sep 2021

New Zealand’s departure

THERE was chaos and despair when New Zealand decided to call off their tour of Pakistan barely minutes before the...
19 Sep 2021

Crucial polio campaign

THE national vaccination campaign that kicked off in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Friday is being described by experts as...