(PKONWEB Report) — A high level Russian delegation called on Pakistan’s National Security Adviser Lt. General (R) Nasser Khan Janjua in the capital Islamabad and offered military and technical cooperation in counterterrorism and cyber security stating these areas provide the strongest impetus to develop political, trade and economic relations between the two countries.
Led by Deputy Director General of Presidential Administration, Sergey, the delegation discussed with Janjua defense cooperation and bilateral relations.
Speaking on the occasion, the head of Russian delegation said his country considers Pakistan a reliable partner in South Asia and is keen to develop strong bilateral relations in all possible areas, report Radio Pakistan.
The Russians appreciated Pakistan’s efforts in the war against terrorism and termed military and technical cooperation as the strongest impetus to develop political, trade and economic relations between the two countries.
He expressed the desire to further strengthen cooperation in counter-terrorism and offered technical assistance to Pakistan in this area.
“Pakistan has conducted large scale operations against terrorism and we want to share our skills in this area”, Sergey said.
Both countries have previously undertaken joint counterterrorism exercises. In 2016, Russia dispatched the first-ever batch of its troops to Pakistan for joint military exercises, signalling a remarkable shift in ties between the two countries.
Russia has also offered to finance and build the $2 billion North-South LNG pipeline that will transport gas from the city of Karachi in southern Sindh to Lahore in the central Punjab province, helping to mitigate shortages in northern parts of the country.
The agreement signed in August 2016 during the first visit by a Russian Energy Minister to Pakistan in three decades, marked a new beginning in commercial ties between the two countries who were on the opposite sides of the Cold War divide.
The Russian delegation which included Chief Counselor of Presidential Administration Valery Molostov, also offered cooperation in the domain of cybersecurity– an already emerged national security issue for many countries worldwide specially for those on the frontline of “war against terrorism”. Pakistan and Russia happen to be two such states.
The country’s National Security Adviser Janjua briefed the Russian team about regional security situation and appreciated Russian spirit to improve bilateral relationship with Pakistan– the country had assisted the U.S. against the Soviets during Afghan War (1979-1988).
He said both Pakistan and Russian Federation were two fortunate countries who had risen beyond the past to write a fresh and enduring chapter of friendship and cooperation for a better and a brighter future in the region.
The high level delegation’s visit follows Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif’s 4-day visit to Moscow in February on the invitation of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at a time when Pakistan is under tremendous US pressure to do more in the fight against terrorism.
Asif’s visit to Moscow was seen as part of efforts to woo major international players, such as Russia, in the face of the tough US approach towards Pakistan.
The Foreign Office in a statement on his visit emphasized that “Russia enjoys a special place in our foreign policy” –an unprecedented expression used for a country that remained Pakistan’s bitter cold war rival.
But that’s a past and closed transaction and both have crossed the Rubicon, observers say.
In the wake of recent developments, Pakistan now considers Russia a key player and partner, not only to bring peace and stability in Afghanistan but also the wider region.
It is not only the political relationship but there has been an improvement in military-to-military ties between the former cold war rivals much to the dismay of Pakistan’s arch rival India which have had long-standing defense and security relations with Russia until the latter became U.S. defense and security ally in the region.
The two countries also share perspective on Afghanistan and believe that road to peace and stability goes through the sustained dialogue process with the Afghan Taliban.
Russia is increasingly concerned over the rise of IS (Daesh) in Afghanistan and feels that the terrorist outfits could also endanger its security. That is why along with China and Pakistan, Russia is also pushing for a political solution to the Afghan conflict.
Russia and Pakistan are also celebrating the 70th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations this year.