PAKISTAN PLAYS THE RUSSIAN CARD

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PAKISTAN PLAYS THE RUSSIAN CARD
PAKISTAN PLAYS THE RUSSIAN CARD

Vladimir Skosyrev

Nezavisimaya Gazeta, September 15, 2016, p. 7

Russian-Pakistani military relations are growing. In 2016, a Russian military unit will conduct exercises together with Pakistanis. Four Mi-35 helicopters were supplied to Pakistan. Along with this, according to an expert, big batches of armament will not go to this country.

MOSCOW AND ISLAMABAD WILL CONDUCT JOINT MILITARY EXERCISES FOR THE FIRST TIME

Interior Minister of India Rajnath Singh arrives to Russia. His task is to persuade Moscow to condemn Pakistan that sends militants to Kashmir. Along with this, the press reports that for Delhi it is even more important to hinder the sale of Russian fighters to Pakistan. Russian-Pakistani military relations are growing. In 2016, a Russian military unit will conduct exercises together with Pakistanis. Four Mi-35 helicopters were supplied to Pakistan. Along with this, according to an expert, big batches of armament will not go to this country.

A top-ranking official of the Pakistani Defense Ministry reported to Express Tribune newspaper that approximately 200 people from Russia and Pakistan each would participate in joint exercises in mountains of Pakistan this year. Nothing else is reported yet besides the fact that these are the first exercises of such kind in history.

Mass media presume that it will be interesting for Russian officers to get acquainted with experience of the antiterrorist operations that Pakistanis have. Along with this, director of the department of Pakistan of the Institute of Oriental Studied of the Russian Academy of Sciences Sergei Kamenev remarked that previously the exercises were approved by heads of the anti-drug agencies and were intended mostly for working out of interaction in this field.

If the situation is such, it is not clear why the press has started talking about rapprochement between Moscow and Islamabad. Not only mass media of Southern Asian but also mass media of Europe write about this. The reason is that geopolitical situation is changing quickly in South Asia.

Whereas during the cold war Pakistan was the ally of the US and India was an ally of the USSR to some extent, now the American-Pakistani relations are rapidly getting worse. Chair of the international affairs committee of the US Senate Bob Corker criticized Pakistan for support of militants in Afghanistan. American legislators are even considering imposing of sanctions on Pakistan for support of Islamists.

Along with this, relations of Washington with Delhi are getting closer. The US would like India to play a more active role in South and Southeast Asia, that is it wants India to support the efforts of Americans aimed at deterrence of China. In such conditions Pakistan stakes at China, its well tested partner, as well as at Russia. Russia is invited to participate in construction of a gas pipeline for transportation of liquefied gas from Karachi to Lahore. But the biggest hopes are associated with the Russian military industrial complex. Islamabad would like to weaken the long-time relations between the Russian and the Indian defense industries.

So far, according to German mass media, four combat helicopters Mi-35 were transferred to Pakistan. But Islamabad would like to sign a deal on purchase of a new batch of helicopters and Su-35 fighters.

With regard to this New Indian Express newspaper says that the upcoming Russian-Pakistani exercises do not worry Delhi but if Russia starts selling the newest Sukhoi fighters or other weapons to Pakistan India will not remain a mere observer. Russia and India call themselves privileged strategic partners. But if one partner does something contrary to the interests of the other it will have to pay a certain price for this. The newspaper adds that Moscow plans to receive new contacts in the sector of nuclear energy, civil aviation and infrastructure in India. It is not necessary to decipher the hint.

Kamenev says that India is going to buy French Rafale fighters. Against this background four Russian helicopters are a trifle. The expert concludes, “Indians have nothing to fear. Pakistanis want 10-12 such strike helicopters more. It is much more serious that they wish to receive Su-035. But only conversations about this go on so far. In any case, Moscow will not turn towards Pakistan. In South Asia Russia will stake at India still.”

 

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