Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Russian President Vladimir Putin meeting for 45 minutes in the Kazhiskistan capital Asdtana, was not just a happy augury, neither was it an ordinary development, or something that could be dismissed lightly.
It was a huge, huge development, enormous in fact building high hopes can well be dangerous, but for quite sometime Russia and Pakistan, have been involved in building new bridges of mutual understanding, closer political ties, and cementing economic and defence relationship.
They could have achieved this goal much earlier, but a scheduled visit to Pakistan of President Putin was cancelled in the last minute, and visit to Moscow and St Petersburg of a couple of Pakistani journalist was suddenly shot down
Luckily for both countries, neither of these developments could generate negative tendencies. Murmurs were heard in some circles as to why Putting had put off his visit to Pakistan last year, but they died sooner than anticipated.
Pakistan and Russia has a history of strong and powerful relationship, starting from the signing of the Oil and Gas agreement in the 60s,when late Mr Bhutto was minister for Petroleum, As foreign minister and later as prime minister, he worked hard to liberate the country from American pressure of treating former Soviet Union, and Peoples Republic of China as taboos for a country, which because of its geographical locations, both as extension of the Middle-East, and in the south east when former East Pakistan was with us.
Americans, wanted us to be play second fiddle for them, tied us down to so-called communist bloc by forming defence pacts like SEATO and CENTO, originally Baghdad Pact, but mounting public criticism against these platform, helped Mr Bhutto do away with these, and Chinese premier Chou- Enlai and USSR counterpart of Alexie Kosygin, were invited to be in Pakistan. In the heat of Russian Invasion of Afghanistan,we once again became pawns in the hands of the foreign powers, and late General Ziaul Haq, calling himself as Islamic leader, allowed the Afghans to take over businesses, and lands in Pakistan in the Russian invasion of Kabul in December 1979. Late Mr Podgorny exploited the situation to snub us and India took full advantage of the situation to build hatred against us.
Time however remains the biggest healer. History came to our rescue once again, and Russian, after their disaster in the wake of Afghanistan Adventure, split into nearly two dozen factions. However in the form of Putin, Russia, officially known as Russian Federation began to rebuild itself, and today, his efforts have paid rich dividends. Russia is a powet to reckon with now. It has begun to assume significance in world affairs again.
Yet another potent and crucial factor emerged in the form of rebuilt relationship between China and Russia, and now it has developed into a powerful bloc. Luckily the two countries have been on Islamabad side. China ever since signing of the border agreement in 1962, remained on Pakistan side, has stood by us even today, and has been a true friend.
The Russian-China grouping bailed Pakistan out from a difficult situation when India at the BRICS conference in New Delhi, brought a resolution to condemn Pakistan as terrorist state, but to utter surprise of Indian Prime Minister, the move was shown down by Putin and Xi-jiping. Nirender Modi was shell-shocked, for such a rebuff was beyond his wildest of imagination.
The occasion demanded Nawaz Sharif to be in Moscow soon afterwards, but political engagements, protocols, etc perhaps kept it from materializing. Now that Putin has had a good meeting with Nawaz Sharif, it must have been greater shock for Modi. But the meeting could be described as historic and ought to be cashed fully. Russia wants development of defence ties with Pakistan, is interested to rebuild the Pakistan Steel, which was built by it.
The two countries are also cooperating in drug control through sea routes, and the participation of Russian navy in the Naval exercise3 of AMAN 2017 in Karachi was yet another solid evidence of its desire to be close to Pakistan, Seen in that perspective, the Nawaz-Putting meeting in Astana is extremely important.