Re­vi­tal­iza­tion of Pak­istan-Rus­sia Re­la­tions

The Diplomatic Insight - - Editor's Note - Muham­mad Javed Sid­dique and Hira Hafeez

he Asian re­gion has great po­lit­i­cal, mil­i­tary, eco­nomic and geostrate­gic im­pli­ca­tions for the rest of the world. Con­tem­po­rary in­ter­na­tional or­der, gen­er­ally af­ter the cold war and es­pe­cially in past few years in the South Asian con­ti­nent. Trans­for­ma­tion of power in South­ern, East­ern and North­ern parts of Asia an em­bod­i­ment of new power struc­tures on the globe. The rapid emer­gence of geo-strate­gic re­la­tions in South Asia has af­fected ties between old friends and foes. Pak­istan-Rus­sia re­la­tions have re­mained over-shad­owed by Pak-US union for most part of the his­tory. Pak­istan-Rus­sia re­la­tions had some pos­i­tive and much trum­peted neg­a­tive. Many op­por­tu­ni­ties to thaw the strained re­la­tions were missed ei­ther due to Pak­istan’s pro-west­ern stance or sus­pi­cions on Rus­sian-In­dian al­liance. How­ever, in the post 9/11 pe­riod, Pak­istan as a front­line state in the war against ter­ror and Rus­sian re­gional resurgence, is of­fer an op­por­tu­nity for re­vi­tal­iza­tion of re­la­tions. Vladimir Putin has been Rus­sia’s and Rus­sia un­der him is re­assert­ing its role in its im­me­di­ate sphere of close ties with In­dia and over the past decade, re­la­tions grew with in­creased diplo­matic en­gage­ment. Pak­istan and Rus­sia, are now im­prov­ing bi­lat­eral re­la­tions for pro­mo­tion of their mu­tual in­ter­ests in the re­gion. Rus­sia, China and Pak­istan are now to be the game chang­ers in 21st cen­tury. Rus­sia of­fers new av­enues for strate­gic and eco­nomic part­ner­ship for Pak­istan. Both have many points of con­ver­gence. While Pak­istan needs Rus­sian in­vest­ment for re­viv­ing its econ­omy, Rus­sia is also eye­ing Pak­istan as a good des­ti­na­tion for its in­vest­ments and trade. There are strate­gic as well as eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties avail­able to both the coun­tries in this era of eco­nomic and re­gional blocs. Both coun­tries de­ci­sion mak­ers have av­enues for co­op­er­a­tion es­pe­cially in the post-US with­drawal from Afghanistan. Pak­istan is anx­ious to maintain its im­por­tance as a key player in Afghanistan. Afghanistan, In­dia-US re­la­tions could be a chal­leng­ing fac­tor in Pak­istan-Rus­sia re­la­tion­ship, but both coun­tries are de­ter­mined to better their re­la­tion­ship de­spite con­straints that are man­age­able. New be­gin­nings in Pak­istan-Rus­sia re­la­tions would pri­mar­ily de­pend on the pri­or­i­ties of their de­ci­sion mak­ers.


Pak­istan-Rus­sia re­la­tions have been marred by historical mis­steps. The historical legacy of Pak­istan-Rus­sia re­la­tions has been an in­ter­est­ing pat­tern of blow hot and blow cold. Pak­istan in­ter­rupted its re­la­tion with Rus­sia since 1947 through an In­dia-Cen­tric Prism. The ‘great game’ be­ing played between Bri­tain and Rus­sia dates back In­dian sub­con­ti­nent has con­tacts with the Soviet Union since the times of Bol­she­vik Rev­o­lu­tion of the Oc­to­ber 1918. There were ups and downs in the re­la­tion­ship between Pak­istan In­ter­na­tional politics of the ‘Cold war’ pe­riod. Dur­ing the cold war, Pak­istan’s in­cli­na­tion to­wards the cap­i­tal­ist’s bloc led by the United States and New Delhi’s friend­ship with Moscow were lim­it­ing fac­tors. In­dia suc­cess­fully alien­ated Pak­istan from Rus­sia and also kept ties with the US. As a re­sult, In­dia re­ceived mil­i­tary as well as eco­nomic aid from both east­ern and west­ern blocs. In­dia is the largest re­cip­i­ent of Rus­sian mil­i­tary equip­ment. Pak­istan be­came a US ally af­ter its in­de­pen­dence and signed bi­lat­eral eco­nomic and mil­i­tary co­op­er­a­tion pacts with the west. Pak­istan is an ally and guardian of US in­ter­ests in the re­gion. Mean­while, Soviet in­va­sion in Afghanistan in 1979 was a turn­ing point in global politics. The wob­bly Pak­istan-Rus­sia ties added to the mu­tual mistrust. Pak­istan’s align­ment with the west­ern bloc, the Soviet in­va­sion of Afghanistan and a com­pli­cated re­la­tion­ship through­out the cold war era. Diplo­matic and mu­tual co­op­er­a­tion on dif­fer­ent po­lit­i­cal, eco­nomic, dis­cussed dur­ing the ex­change of vis­its by sig­na­to­ries from both sides af­ter De­cem­ber 1991.Bi­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion between Pak­istan and Rus­sia in the tech­nol­ogy has emerged. The Krem­lin has grown care­ful lately in re­la­tion to In­dia’s aug­ment­ing se­cu­rity co­op­er­a­tion with the United States and other West­ern na­tions. Rus­sian as­pi­ra­tion for an el­e­va­tion of mu­tual har­mony and col­lab­o­ra­tion was a di­ver­sion from USSR’s pre­vi­ous poli­cies. Rus­sian gov­ern­ment ac­knowl­edges Pak­istan role for peace and sta­bil­ity in Asia, es­pe­cially South and Cen­tral Asia. Pak­istan also rec­og­nized Rus­sian emerg­ing eco­nomic and mil­i­tary gi­ant. Fears of re­li­gious ex­trem­ism in Cen­tral Asia and Afghanistan com­bined with dis­il­lu­sion­ment about the roles of In­dia and the U.S in South Asia could push Rus­sia and Pak­istan closer to­gether. Con­tem­po­rary trend of height­ened diplo­matic re­la­tions boosted in 2014 when Rus­sian gov­ern­ment di­vulged from the arms and mil­i­tary hard­ware em­bargo against Pak­istan. Moscow he­li­copters to Islamabad, in 2015. Fol­low­ing the re­sults of the talks held be­fore on he­li­copters, which Pak­istan would like to get from Rus­sia, a draft agree­ment on the re­lease of four MI35M gun­ships has been sent to the Pak­istani side. Pak­istan seeks di­rect Rus­sian in­vest­ment and tech­no­log­i­cal co­op­er­a­tion, par­tic­u­larly in the nu­clear en­ergy sec­tor. Moscow’s state-owned nu­clear en­ergy com­pany Rosa Tam

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