Pakistan and Russia agree to enhance bilateral ties

Islamabad: Pakistan Foreign Office in its 12th meeting of Pakistan and Russia Consultative Group on Strategic Stability has confirmed that Pakistan and Russia  agreed to explore new avenues of  cooperation to enhance the bilateral ties . Both sides agreed on the need to further capitalize on the positive trajectory of the overall bilateral relations by exploring avenues for mutually beneficial bilateral cooperation.

The meeting  held at the level of senior officials was led by Russian deputy foreign minister Sergey Ryabkov and  Pakistani side by Special Secretary Amb Tasnim Aslam. “The two sides had an in-depth exchange of views on the regional and global developments, including with respect to arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation,” the FO said.

Ties between Moscow and Islamabad have been improving for years now and the two have taken great strides since 2007, when the ties were renewed after a long estrangement during the cold war. Pakistan and Russia in 2014 signed a defence cooperation accord and in 2015 they inked a technical cooperation accord providing for arms supplies and cooperation in weapon development.

During Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif’s visit to Moscow last month, the two sides agreed to form a military commission to enhance their defence cooperation. Despite the upswing in ties, the two countries have moved very tentatively on nuclear cooperation. Mos­cow, for instance, is backing India’s bid for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group. However, it is not blocking Pakistan’s candidature. Moreover, it’s not ready to discuss the prospects of nuclear cooperation.

Trade and economic cooperation is another area where the two countries have been lagging behind. Russia has particularly been interested in cooperation in the energy sector and has been pressing Islamabad to implement the agreements reached in the inter-governmental commission.

The Foreign Office maintained that the two sides enjoyed commonality of approach and convergence on a range of contemporary issues. The evolving geostrategic landscape and more specifically India’s growing closeness with the US and the lingering conflict in Afghanistan have been major contributors to promoting convergence bet­ween the two sides. “The two sides expressed high degree of satisfaction over their close coordination, cooperation and consultations at various international forums,” the FO noted.

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