ISLAMABAD - Pakistan and Russia aim at becoming leading regional partners amid India’s propaganda to isolate Islamabad, said foreign ministry officials.

Citing the first ‘Pakistan-Russia Consultations on Regional Issues’ held here, the officials said Islamabad and Moscow were heading to a new start after the cold war rivalry where Pakistan sided with the US.

“We are slowly engaging in partnerships and hope to become leading regional partners in the years to come. The cold war is over now. Russia is very positive towards us,” said a senior official.

He said India had failed to isolate Pakistan despite its vicious propaganda. “In fact we have a new friend in Russia and (Donald) Trump’s (upcoming) administration is also friendly towards us,” he maintained.

Yesterday, the foreign ministry said Pakistan and Russia “discussed whole range of regional issues as well as key areas of mutual interest.”

“These included economic cooperation and connectivity. The two sides also exchanged views on important global and regional developments,” a foreign ministry statement said.

The statement said the two sides decided that the next round of consultations will be convened in Moscow next year.

The Russian side was led by Alexander V Sternik, Head of the Third CIS Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia while the Pakistani side was led by Ahmad Hussain Dayo, Director General (West Asia), Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the latest meeting.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Syed Tariq Fatemi - who is in the US these days on a mission to win over the Trump team - said in his latest interview that diplomatic outreach to Russia was aimed at enhancing political and economic ties.

Fatemi said Pakistan was also considering Moscow’s participation in building an oil pipeline from Karachi to Lahore. Construction of a power plant is also being discussed.

The special assistant said Pakistan’s military ties with Russia were not designed against India or in reaction to India’s growing defence ties with the US.

Another official said Pakistan and Russia were planning exchange of visits in the coming months to enhance the relationship further.

“We have a huge potential in different sectors to work on. Both Pakistan and Russia are positive about the future of partnerships for regional progress,” he said.

Defence analyst Lt-Gen (r) Abdul Qayum said Pakistan and Russia were moving in the right direction leaving the past behind. “The cold war is long over now. We need to move forward. The Pak-Russia leadership has demonstrated wisdom by joining hands,” he said.

Lt-Gen (r) Moeenuddin Haider, another defence expert, said Pakistan and Russia could become formidable partners. “The ties have been improving over the years. This is a positive sign for the region. Also it is a good lesson for India who wants to isolate Pakistan. In today’s world we cannot depend on a single country. We should have good ties with US, Russia and others at the same time,” he said.

further. “We have a huge potential in different sectors to work on. Both Pakistan and Russia are positive about the future of partnerships for regional progress,” he said.

Defence analyst Lt-Gen (r) Abdul Qayum said Pakistan and Russia were moving in the right direction leaving the past behind. “The cold war is long over now. We need to move forward. The Pak-Russia leadership has demonstrated wisdom by joining hands,” he said. Lt-Gen (r) Moeenuddin Haider, another defence expert, said Pakistan and Russia could become formidable partners. “The ties have been improving over the years. This is a positive sign for the region. Also it is a good lesson for India who wants to isolate Pakistan. In today’s world we cannot depend on a single country. We should have good ties with US, Russia and others at the same time,” he said.