The first ever visit by Russian high military officer, Lieutenant General Viktor Nikolayevich Bondarev Commander-in-Chief, Russian Federation Air Force was in Islamabad to meet with his counterpart Air Chief Marshal Tahir Rafique Butt, Chief of the Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force, since the beginning of relations. He was being invited by Air Chief Marshal of
Pakistan Air Force when he was there in Moscow for his maiden visit to Russia in August 2012, for participation in the International Military Conference.
The presence reflects the building of trust and cooperation among both militaries which
is a great step and welcomed from all quarters in Pakistan. These high-level visits are that of the military of that of civil is equally significant to enhance the ties from being just lukewarm to outstanding and warm.
The recent visit of Mrs. Valentina Matvienko, Chairperson of the Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation here at Parliament House was another highlight of this year. She was heading the delegation of Russian parliamentarians to meet their counterparts to boost ties, especially people-to-people contacts and exchange of delegations at various levels. Enhancing cultural cooperation and also in the education sphere can help in strengthening Pakistan-Russia relations.
Last year, the presence of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Viktorovich Lavrov in Islamabad
after the cancellation of Russian President Putin’s scheduled trip to the region was a
breath of fresh air for Pakistan.
Mr. Lavrov assured his Pakistani counterpart Ms. Hina Rabbani Khar for the support to Pakistan on all issues of regional and international nature. Recently the relations between Russia and Pakistan are moving smoothly and on a high note towards achieving the goals that have been set while the high-level visits like that of the President of Pakistan’s visit to Russia in 2011 were meant to set new standards in the relationship.
These regular contacts are maintained on high levels in order to share the goals and support each other on common grounds. In August 2012 First Deputy Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Russia and Pakistan discussed the relevant issues of mutual interests, regional and world politics.
Trade cooperation, counterterrorism assistance, anti-drug directions were a few of the major themes that were at the top of the agenda. Later in September 2012, Russia has agreed to support Pakistan in the development of the fuel and energy complex of Pakistan’s modernization of metallurgical complex build in Karachi with the assistance of the then USSR, and also on cooperation in fields of transport, agribusiness, telecommunications, and education.
The evolving scenario in the region has made Pakistan and Russia come closer together by having multi-sided cooperation in various areas of bilateral and multilateral levels. Through the forums like Shanghai Cooperation Organisation(SCO) and Dushanbe Four(Afghanistan-Pakistan-Russia-Tajikistan), both the states are working in close cooperation with each other to resolve the issues, especially that of Afghanistan.
Pakistan and Russia have now convergences of interests in various issues of international and regional nature. It is high time that both the states are coming closer to each other and this reflects their intention of warding off the past and hoping for long-term fruitful cooperation.
As per the statement at the Russian Foreign office’s website “The affinity or coincidence of approaches of Moscow and Islamabad to the majority of issues of the world politics creates favorable preconditions for efficient interaction on the international arena. New possibilities in that direction opened up owing to the election of Pakistan the non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for 2012-2013”.
Russia also additionally sees Pakistan as a country playing an important role in countering terrorism and achieving its vision of regional connectivity. Understanding of changing parameters of the international, regional political, and security environment, Pakistan must continue to have a thrust towards developing close relations with Russia and it must also work on raising it to a much higher level.
A new phase has already been marked to begin. Our interest lies in having a pragmatic and diversified foreign policy with having close and cordial relations with all the major powers. Like Paul, Kennedy has said “there is no expert on Russia, but varying degrees of ignorance” however for Pakistan it is necessary in contemporary world politics not to remain ignorant especially in its relations with Russia.
This special friendship supplement is a combination of views and opinions expressed by
writers from across the world in order to commemorate the 65th anniversary of diplomatic
relations between Pakistan and Russia.
We are grateful to the Embassy of Russia in Pakistan for their support in publishing this historic document.