ISLAMABAD - Minister for Defence Engineer Khurram Dastgir Khan Friday said that Pakistan and Russia had made tremendous substantive strides in their partnership since 2013.

He was speaking while concluding the 5th Pak-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission (IGC) in Moscow. He co-chaired the meeting with his Russian counterpart, Minister for Trade and Industry Denis V Manturov, said a press release issued here.

Dastgir said defence cooperation had been the vanguard of this new chapter in Pak-Russia relationship, which would soon be matched by vast energy-sector cooperation .

The Pakistani and Russian ministers signed the formal protocol after a plenary session of the IGC that concluded three days of multi-faceted dialogue and negotiations between the Pakistan and Russian contingents.

Speaking to the media after the signing ceremony, Dastgir said both sides had accelerated ongoing negotiations on numerous energy sector investments by Russia into Pakistan.

“We have also added important new subjects such as trade liberalisation to the IGC, and held the first meeting of Pak-Russia Joint Working Group on Trade. Other subjects of the dialogue were mutual recognition of standards, increasing Pak students in Russia, banking and customs cooperation , and visa facilitation,” the minister said.

Dastgir was appointed recently by the prime minster to co-chair the Pak-Russia IGC. He led a 22-member delegation consisting of secretaries of economic affairs, energy , and textile industry as well as senior officials from the ministries of petroleum, foreign affairs, and commerce.

Minister Manturov led a 50-member delegation of Russian officials.