Pakistan, Russia sign landmark defence deal

Published August 19, 2015
Agreement was signed by top defence officials from Pakistan and Russia in Rawalpindi on Wednesday. -Photo courtesy Wikimedia commons
Agreement was signed by top defence officials from Pakistan and Russia in Rawalpindi on Wednesday. -Photo courtesy Wikimedia commons

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Russia on Wednesday signed a landmark defence deal that includes the sale of four Mi-35 ‘Hind E’ attack helicopters to Pakistan.

“The agreement was signed by top defence officials from Pakistan and Russia in Rawalpindi on Wednesday,” said a military source.

Both countries were negotiating the deal for the past year, signalling a major thaw in relations between the two cold-war rivals.

Read: Russia ready to sell four Mi-35 helicopters to Pakistan: report

Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif had also visited Russia in June, after which a draft contract for the delivery of four Mi-35M 'Hind E' combat helicopters was sent to Pakistan from Russia.

General Raheel Sharif had spent about 15 hours at an arms expo near Moscow that featured Russia’s cutting edge weapons and military equipment. He inspected not only the weapon systems on display but also saw their live demonstrations.

Late last year, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu arrived on a visit to Pakistan which was aimed at discussing bilateral defence cooperation with the Pakistani leadership.

CEO of Russia's Rostec hi-tech corporation, Sergey Chemezov, had also last year said Russia had lifted its embargo on delivery of military hardware and armaments to Pakistan and negotiations were being held on delivering helicopters.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry also said both sides have been negotiating the delivery of helicopters and that Pakistan currently has a number of Mi-17 helicopters delivered by the United States to assist in the fight against militancy.

The Mi-35 helicopter is an exceedingly modernised version of the Mi-24 (Hind) combat helicopter with new onboard equipment and avionics. It also has a more powerful engine and a different tail rotor.

Read more: Russian defence minister arrives in Pakistan to discuss defence cooperation

Pakistan and Russia had signed a bilateral defence cooperation agreement aimed at strengthening military-to-military relations in November last year. The deal had to be followed by another ‘technical cooperation agreement’ to pave the way for sale of defence equipment to Pakistan.

Besides helicopters, Pakistan also appears interested in other Russian hardware.

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.

Opinion

Good examples

Good examples

It is not impossible for female (or male) leaders to fulfil promises if they have the will and drive to do so.

Editorial

Democracy damaged
Updated 28 Feb, 2024

Democracy damaged

The reserved seats controversy could have been avoided had the ECP by now decided whether SIC deserves them or not.
Misplaced priorities
28 Feb, 2024

Misplaced priorities

THE federal government’s filing of a petition with the Supreme Court on Monday, seeking to overturn an Islamabad...
Killing jirgas
28 Feb, 2024

Killing jirgas

ANOTHER day and another chilling story unfolds in Kohistan. The jirga institution, declared illegal by the top ...
New funds
27 Feb, 2024

New funds

PAKISTAN plans to seek a new loan of $6bn from the IMF under its Extended Fund Facility for a period of three years,...
Missing link
27 Feb, 2024

Missing link

WITH most of Punjab and KP now accessible via motorways, which have greatly eased road travel for the bulk of the...
Tragedy averted
Updated 27 Feb, 2024

Tragedy averted

Pakistan must shed the layers of intolerance that have been allowed to permeate society.