Russia strengthens relations with Pakistan and supplies military equipment

Islamabad (AP) —Russian Foreign Minister said on Wednesday that Moscow and Islamabad would strengthen relations in the war on terror. Russia provided Pakistan with unspecified military equipment, and the two conducted joint exercises in the sea and mountains.

In Pakistan, the final day of the two-day trip, Sergey Lavrov’s visit is the first visit in nine years by the Russian Foreign Minister, part of the warming of the once cold-hearted relationship. It comes from Moscow’s attempt to increase its position in the region, especially in Afghanistan. Afghanistan seeks to establish itself as a major player in its accelerated efforts to find a peaceful end to decades of war.

“We are ready to strengthen Pakistan’s anti-terrorism potential, including supplying Pakistan with special military equipment,” Lavrov said without going into detail about the equipment.

As Washington considered an agreement signed with the Taliban over a year ago and reconsidered the withdrawal of soldiers on May 1, Moscow strengthened its involvement in Afghanistan and emerged as an important player. Last month, Lavrov hosted a meeting between the Taliban and senior government officials, suggesting that another high-level meeting could be held again in Moscow.

Lavrov arrived in Pakistan on Tuesday from neighboring India, where Moscow had a long and strong relationship. But the apparent reset of Pakistan-Russia relations is, by contrast, a recent phenomenon.

In the 1980s, Pakistan became the setting for anti-communist Afghan rebels backed by the United States to expel the former Soviet Union, which negotiated the end of a decade of occupation in 1989.

Russia is also building a gas pipeline between the port city of Karachi in the south and Lahore in the east. Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Cresi said Islamabad will also purchase the Russian-made COVID-19 Sputnik V vaccine 5 million times and will eventually make it in Pakistan. He also said Pakistan wanted Russian expertise to modernize its outdated rail system and its energy sector.

The visit emphasizes the weakening of US influence in the region while increasing the influence of Russia and China, said Michael Kugelman, deputy director of the US-based Wilson Center’s Asian program. Stated.

“There is good reason for this to be Russia’s first visit to Islamabad in almost 10 years. Relations between Russia and Pakistan are rising,” he said in an interview, a new 25 years between Iran and China. Also mentioned the development agreement of. ..

Pakistan is also a major player in China’s Belt and Road Initiative. This is a large-scale transcontinental infrastructure development project aimed at expanding China’s commercial ties globally.

“The United States will soon hand over important real estate to its top rivals,” Kugelman said. “It’s the cost of an imminent US withdrawal from the region. But since the US intends to withdraw, it seems to be a cost it is willing to bear.”