Strengthening Pak-Russia ties hint at policy shift across South Asia

22 Sep


ISLAMABAD: New alliances are being developed rapidly to maintain the balance of power in South Asia and the relations between Pakistan and Russia seem to be getting stronger and both the countries are going to hold their first ever military exercise called “Friendship 2016” in December.

India is making Afghanistan its stronghold in the region offering financial aid to the tune of $1 billion dollar per annum to Afghanistan by ignoring her own poverty. It looks like in the new course of alignment India, USA and Afghanistan will be in one camp while Pakistan, China and Russia would emerge as new regional partners in future. Pak-Russia defence exercises would be named “Friendship 2016”, which would be commenced in the last month of current calendar year. Some 200 soldiers from each side would participate in the joint exercises.

A proposal is also on the cards of top Pakistani military brass to procure latest war airplanes SU-35 from Russia to make the country’s defence impregnable. In addition to this, Pakistan also shows a desire to buy anti tank arms and an air defence surveillance system from Moscow. The sources said that the military leadership had several tours to Russia during last 15 months during which, an agreement was inked between Islamabad and Moscow for purchase of MI-35 Helicopters. Pakistan is finding ways to purchase aircrafts from other countries including Turkey and Jordan to make her defence invincible.

The watershed moment that appeared in Pakistan’s foreign policy is due to change of the USA’s attitude towards India. On the other hand, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who is on a tour of India nowadays, is not only towing the Indian line but also threatening Pakistan. In a fresh statement he said without naming Pakistan that anyone who tried to block the way between India and Afghanistan, would be blocked itself.

India has given the indication to the touring Afghan president to mull over a proposal to connect airports of each other’s country. India is facing problems in the fields of education, health and agriculture, but offered to provide Afghanistan assistance in these sectors.

It is pertinent to mention here that India had utilised over $ 2 billion in Afghanistan in different ways since 2001. In June this year, the Indian Prime Minister inaugurated a hydroelectric dam. The project would cost $290 million. In addition to this, India is spending $90 million on the new building of Afghan Parliament in Kabul. Though the increasing term between New Delhi and Kabul are a matter of concern for Pakistan, India is very worried and disturbed about the improving relations between Pakistan, China and Russia. On the recommendations of Ambassadors and Envoy Conference , which was held recently at Islamabad , Pakistan took a U-Turn in foreign policy and this is the very reason that USA forbade Lockheed Martin , manufacturer of F-16, to sell eight fighter jets to Pakistan on the old plea that Pakistan was not doing enough against terrorism.

It is worth mentioning here that Russia was reluctant to improve relations with Pakistan as she did not want to displease India in the past, but now India has fallen into the lap of America like a ripped fruit and also devoted all her resources to Afghanistan. In these circumstances, it became extremely necessary for Moscow to develop new terms with Islamabad.



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