ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Russia on Tuesday signed an agreement that allows for training of Pakistani troops at Russian military training institutes.
“Both countries signed the Contract on Admission of Service Members of Pakistan in RF’s (Russian Federation) Training Institutes,” the defence ministry said in a statement.
The agreement was signed at the conclusion of the first meeting of Russia-Pakistan Joint Military Consultative Committee (JMCC), described by the defence ministry as the highest forum of defence collaboration between Pakistan and the Russian Federation. The two countries had earlier this year, during the visit of the then foreign minister Khawaja Asif to Moscow, agreed to set up a commission to boost military cooperation.
Russian Deputy Defence Minister Col Gen Alexander Fomin led his side at the talks while Pakistani Defence Secretary retired Lt Gen Zamirul Hassan Shah headed the host side.
The two sides, during the talks, reviewed the progress made in bilateral defence cooperation since they signed the defence cooperation pact in November 2014. Subsequently, Pakistan and Russia in October 2015 signed the military-technical cooperation accord providing for arms supplies and cooperation in weapon development.
Russia has over the past three years provided four Mi-35M combat and cargo helicopters to Pakistan and the militaries of the two countries also held joint drills codenamed ‘Friendship’.
“A comprehensive issue based review was also carried out during which the two countries expressed satisfaction on the milestones achieved,” the defence ministry said, adding that the two sides deliberated on areas for cooperation in future.
The talks also featured a discussion on the situation in the Middle East and Afghanistan.
One of Russia’s key concerns in its security dialogue with Pakistan had been the growing foothold of the militant Islamic State (IS) group, also known by its Arabic acronym Daesh, in Afghanistan and the relocation of IS fighters from Iraq and Syria to the land-locked country.
Meanwhile, Gen Fomin visited General Headquarters for a call on Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa.
During his meeting with Gen Bajwa, the Russian deputy defence minister “expressed requirement” of cooperation to defeat extremism, according to the Inter Services Public Relations.
The two had a discussion on “regional security situation, and matters of mutual interest including enhancement of bilateral defence and security cooperation”.
Published in Dawn, August 8th, 2018