A Warming Russia

Developments over the weekend on foreign policy indicate that Pakistan’s relations are consistently improving with Russia. On a two-day official visit to Russia, Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, General Nadeem Raza attended the Defence and Security Cooperation Conference at the SCO forum, where he met Chief of General Staff of the Russian Federation, Gen Valery V. Gerasimov. The discussions were fruitful, as the representatives discussed bilateral defence ties and regional security situation.

This is one of many indications that there is a move towards a developing cordial relationship between Pakistan and Russia. Pakistan should not lose the opportunity and extend friendly relations to Russia. It is no secret that correspondences between the two countries have not always been warm and friendly—Pakistan’s relations with Russia have largely been viewed in context of India. Frosty relations have their roots to the cold war-era, because of Pakistan’s alliance with the United States, and Russia’s close relationship with India.

Yet history or awkward alliances should not be a barrier for better relations, especially when it is so strategically beneficial for both countries to do so. The narrative for a regional economic bloc or improved ties at least with China, Pakistan and Russia has been debated at length, and most signs point to mutual positive outcomes. While India has tried to sabotage the situation any time that Russia and Pakistan appeared to become closer, it seems that if handled diplomatically, the countries can exchange good relations, even if Russia is close to India.

A cordial friendship between Russia and Pakistan is mutually beneficial for both countries. With the US departure from Afghanistan looking inevitable, Moscow’s stakes on the rise of terrorism and its involvement in brokering peace in Afghanistan is bound to increase. Better relations with Pakistan make negotiations much easier. For Pakistan, warmer relations with Russia takes away one less manipulative tactic for India to use to bully its neighbours.

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