Chief of the Army Staff, Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani will be visiting the Russian capital Moscow this month. This will be the first such visit of a top Pakistani military commander after the end of the Cold War.  With the US military commanders as yet undecided about the extent of withdrawal from Afghanistan, other powers of the region including Russia and People’s Republic of China have their reservations. It was against this backdrop that President Asif Ali Zardari visited Moscow in May last year and held talks with his Russian counterpart, President Dmitry Medvedev focusing on regional issues and arriving at an understanding to work together to deal with common challenges. 

Soon after the Army Chief Gen Kayani returns from Moscow, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will visit Islamabad to further cement the existing bilateral relations and give new dimension to strategic partnership. Gen Kayani’s visit and his discussions with his Russian counterpart holds great promise for mutual ties. This is the need of the hour since balance of power in South Asia has largely tilted in favour of India particularly in view of the US backing of New Delhi, economically as well as militarily. Pakistan’s policy of favouring a balanced foreign policy is one that is sound, given that too much pressure or expectation should not be placed on any one ally. We value our relations with Russia and look forward to a lasting partnership.