Pakistan and Russia held their first-ever consultation on regional issues on Wednesday at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) in Islamabad, the Foreign Office (FO) Spokesman Nafees Zakaria said in a statement.

The delegation from Moscow was led by Alexander V. Sternik, Third CIS Department head at the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, whereas the Pakistani side was led by MOFA Director-General (West Asia) Ahmad Hussain Dayo.

During the consultations, a wide range of regional issues as well as key areas of mutual interest, including economic cooperation and connectivity, were discussed.

The two sides also exchanged views on important global and regional developments.

The next round of consultations will be convened in Moscow in 2017, the FO spokesman said.

Reports circulating earlier this month claimed that the Russian spy chief had made a visit to Pakistan in order to inspect the Gwadar port.

The reports alleged that Pakistan had formally authorised Russia to join the $46bn China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) after the head of Russian intelligence requested to join the project.

Last week, the Russian foreign ministry rubbished the reports about 'secret negotiations' between the two countries regarding cooperation on the CPEC.

"The Pakistani media reports about secret negotiations between Russia and Pakistan on the implementation of projects as part of the CPEC are not true to the facts," Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation had said in a press release.

In September, Russian troops arrived in Pakistan for the first ever joint Pak-Russian military exercise. Around 200 military personnel of both countries participated in the drills

Relations between the two countries have been growing stronger since the Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu visited Pakistan in 2014. The two countries signed a bilateral defence cooperation agreement aimed at strengthening military-to-military relations.

Last year, a landmark defence deal that included the sale of four Mi-35 ‘Hind E’ attack helicopters to Pakistan.

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.

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