MOSCOW - Russian President Vladimir Putin praised plans for new joint economic projects between Russia and Pakistan but called for closer cooperation between the two nations in fighting terrorism and the illegal drug trade.

At a ceremony to receive the credentials of 19 new Ambassadors to Russia, Putin said Russia and its Asian neighbour have plans for major joint projects in the energy and metal industries.

He said Russia is interested in promoting political dialogue with Pakistan, as well as boosting economic cooperation.

Russia and Pakistan have regularly worked together in the past in joint actions to combat the influx of heroin from Afghanistan, the world’s leading producer of the drug according to the UN.