Pak­istan – Rus­sia Bi­lat­eral Re­la­tions

Prof. Dr. Lubna Abid Ali Direc­tor School of Pol­i­tics and In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions Quaid-i-azam Univer­sity, Is­lam­abad.

The Diplomatic Insight - - Contents -

Pak­istan is the first to rec­og­nize Rus­sia as the suc­ces­sor state of USSR. In the Post-ColdWar era re­la­tions be­tween Rus­sia and Pak­istan are based on prin­ci­ple of rec­i­proc­ity and mu­tu­al­ity of in­ter­ests. Rus­sia sup­ported Pak­istan's mem­ber­ship of ASEAN Re­gional Fo­rum (ARF) and Pak­istan en­abled Rus­sia to se­cure ob­server sta­tus in OIC. How­ever, in addition to this co­op­er­a­tion within the frame­work of mul­ti­lat­eral or­gan­i­sa­tions the po­ten­tial for bi­lat­eral re­la­tions is still to be re­al­ized. The per­ti­nent ques­tion in the con­text of Pak­istan is how to for­mu­late for­eign pol­icy choices so as to able bal­ance the ma­jor re­gional and global pow­ers. What com­pli­ca­cies Pak­istan's agenda is its sig­nif­i­cant geostrate­gic lo­ca­tion Amer­i­can in­ter­ven­tion in 2001, and a host of do­mes­tic chal­lenges to its democ­racy, gov­er­nance and na­tional unity. Me­herun­nisa Ali's Read­ing in Pak­istan's For­eign Pol­icy: 1971-1998 and Hafeez Ma­lik's Soviet – Pak­istan Re­la­tions and Post – Soviet Dy­nam­ics sum­marise well the fu­ture prospects for mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial re­la­tions be­tween Rus­sia and Pak­istan. Ini­tially the re­la­tion­ship has been of re­straint due to Pak­istan's pro-west pas­ture dur­ing the ColdWar pe­riod. In 1960's Pak­istan changed its for­eign pol­icy pos­ture un­der the then for­eign min­is­ter Zul­fikar Ali Bhutto' 'bi­lat­er­al­ism' through an oil ex­plo­ration agree­ment of 1961. The Tashkent Dec­la­ra­tion at the end of 1965 war en­abled Soviet – Rus­sia to act as a con­struc­tive su­per power. On Bhutto's in­sis­tence the word 'Kash­mir' was in­cor­po­rated in the fi­nal draft of the dec­la­ra­tion and Pak­istan's point of view of Kash­mir was made known to the world. Zul­fikarAli Bhutto vis­ited Moscow twice, 1972 and 1974 and it helped both the sides to un­der­stand each other's points-of-view on re­gional af­fairs. Re­la­tions ditched af­ter Soviet in­ter­ven­tion in Afghanistan 1979. Af­ter the with­drawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan, the then Sec­re­tary Gen­eral of Pak­istan's for­eign af­fairs, Akram Zaki vis­ited Moscow in 1992. The goal of Pak­istan's for­eign pol­icy has been out­lined by Quaid-I-Azam Mo­ham­mad Ali Jin­nah, on the oc­ca­sion of in­au­gu­ra­tion of the Pak­istan Broad­cast­ing Ser­vice on 15 Au­gust 1947: Our ob­ject should be peace within and peace without. We want to live peace­fully and main­tain cor­dial and friendly re­la­tions with our im­me­di­ate neigh­bours and the world at large. We have no ag­gres­sive de­signs against any­one. We stand by the United Na­tions Char­ter and will gladly make our full con­tri­bu­tion to the peace and pros­per­ity of the world. ( For­eign Of­fice Book: 2005 – 2006, http://www.mofa.org.pk) Due to trans­for­ma­tion in the re­gion and change in Rus­sia's global po­si­tion at the end of ColdWar Rus­sia's pol­icy in the South Asia con­text has also un­der­gone a mod­i­fi­ca­tion. Three broad for­eign pol­icy ob­jec­tives of Rus­sian Fed­er­a­tion have been ap­proved by Vladimir Putin since 200: i. To strengthen Rus­sia's role as a re­gional power with em­pha­sis on the “near abroad” through eco­nomic in­te­gra­tion so as to counter Amer­i­can and Eu­ro­pean in­flu­ence. ii. The cre­ation of a Eurasian al­liance to re­duce the pre­pon­der­ance of theUSun­chal­lenged global in­flu­ence.

iii. To estab­lish ma­ture strate­gic part­ner­ship­with­Amer­ica. Of course, Rus­sia's re­gional role is based on in­cor­po­ra­tion of the prin­ci­ple of 'soft power', by pro­mot­ing eco­nomic and en­ergy co­op­er­a­tion with a flex­i­ble ap­proach in its for­eign pol­icy. Prior to the end of Cold War, Pak­istan be­ing sep­a­rated from U.S.S.R through the rugged Wakhan strip. With the emer­gence of Cen­tral Asian States, in the early 90's Ta­jik­istan, Kyr­gyzs­tan and Kaza­khstan lie be­tween Pak­istan and Rus­sia. Af­ter 9/11 Is­lam­abad rec­og­nized the dam­age caused by the Tal­iban to its re­la­tions with Rus­sia and Cen­tral Asian states. Fol­low­ing the end of Tal­iban regime Rus­sia also re­al­ized the fact that Pak­istan can­not be ig­nored in the changed geo-po­lit­i­cal con­text. Com­mon cause of fight­ing ex­trem­ism re­sulted in in­creased co­op­er­a­tion since 2002 Joint work­ing group on counter ter­ror­ism. The Rus­sian Prime Min­is­ter Mikhail E. Frad­kov vis­ited Pak­istan 11 – 13 April 2007. An agree­ment was signed on com­bat­ing il­licit drug traf­fick­ing. The vol­ume of trade be­tween Rus­sia and Pak­istan in­creased from 92 mil­lion dol­lar in 2003 to over 700 mil­lion in 2011. There is an ur­gency to create strong eco­nomic links with Rus­sia. The likely area of co­op­er­a­tion seems to be ex­pan­sion of the SteelMills Karachi as well as in­vest­ment by Rus­sian firms in Pak­istan's oil and gas sec­tors. The Chair­man of the Board of Di­rec­tors Mag­ni­to­gorsk, Iron and Steel­Works of Rus­sia, Vik­tor Raslinkove, has com­mit­ted to in­vest $2 bil­lion for the upgra­da­tion of Pak­istan. Pak­istan's main ex­ports to Rus­sia are tex­tile items and can be fur­ther ex­panded. A six mem­ber del­e­ga­tion of the In­ter­na­tional Af­fairs Com­mit­tee of the State Duma (Na­tional Assem­bly) of the Rus­sian Fed­er­a­tion vis­ited Pak­istan in 2006. The demo­cratic gov­ern­ment in Pak­istan has fur­ther ac­cel­er­ated the pace of re­la­tions cov­er­ing di­verse ar­eas of co­op­er­a­tion. The 5th Round of Pak­istan – Rus­sia Con­sul­ta­tive Group on

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