SINCE the 60s China has remained a reliable, all weather friend to Pakistan, now Russia too has emerged on the international scene, and formed a nexus with China. The development has been a blessing for Islamabad and must be exploited to its full potential. In fact, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif needs to visit the Russian Federation to benefit from the goodwill that has begun to emerge there for Pakistan. A solid example of the invaluable Russian backing came at the recent BRICs Conference in India, where despite Pakistan’s absence, President Putin and President Xi Jinping thwarted an India-sponsored resolution to declare Pakistan a ‘terrorist State’. This was no small favour, a huge one in fact. India learnt that Islamabad has begun to consolidate its position worldwide. Salute to China then, first, for blocking New Delhi’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group barely a couple of month ago, and now China and Russia have joined hands to thwart conspiracies against Pakistan. Both worked hand-in-hand to frustrate Modi’s design to isolate Pakistan. The foreign office in Islamabad must have been surprised by the sudden, but happy development at the BRICS conference, where Prime Minister had either been advised or decided on his own to stay away from the Big-5 Summit.
The Chinese history of cooperation with Pakistan is before us. China stood by its words from 1965 war with India, till date, where it is engaged in building a Herculean project of CPEC. The Russian cooperation could be traced back to eight to ten years. Two of former Presidents, General Pervez Musharraf and Asif Ali Zardari visited Moscow for rapprochement with a country, which had turned hostile to us before the 1971 war, strengthened Indian arsenal with latest equipments, which was one of the factors for Pakistan’s humiliation. But as Putin began to rebuild his country’s image, he announced a visit to Pakistan also which was unluckily cancelled at the last minute.
But that did not dim the desire for building ties anew on either side. The first indication of it came when the Russian Navy delegation visited Karachi to sign a treaty with Pakistani counterparts on drug control, which may also help combat sea piracy, which at one time had become a nuisance for international trade.
Later the Russian defence minister visited Pakistan, held talks here which augured well for bilateral ties. Russia also gave 4 MI-35 helicopters to Pakistan. But the biggest surprise came when for the first time Russo-Pak history of ties, over 200 Russian soldiers visited for joint exercises with Pakistan army in the northern areas.
The visit was short, just for a week, but it did carry significant meaning. It showed that Pakistan army, having built a tremendous reputation of fighting the guerilla warfare because of its tremendous success in Zarb-e-Azb, can now indisputably be called the first professional army to succeed against guerilla warfare. There is no example in history of that except of Pakistan army
Nawaz Sharif did visit Russia and had a meeting with President Putin on the sidelines of Shanghai Economic Cooperation Council meeting outside Moscow.
Time had come now for the Pakistani leadership to establish a direct and closer rapport with Russian counterpart for giving new dimension to their bilateral cooperation. Russia has been engaged in a $2 billion Gas Pipeline projects and wishes to come to energy sector and road building.
The China-Russia nexus has already delivered for Pakistan, and need to be encouraged to be beneficial for Pakistan in real- and long- term perspective. In the strengthening of this idea China again has been a moving spirit.