Strategic partnership with Russia

IN the fast changing regional scenario, relations between Pakistan and Russia have seen an unprecedented improvement over the last few years with both the countries holding joint military exercises and also exploring ways and means to further enhance their defence and economic relations.
As the two former cold war rivals celebrate the 70th anniversary of their diplomatic relations, Pakistan has expressed desire to take the relationship to next level by offering Moscow a multidimensional strategic partnership. In a statement on Tuesday, Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal said Pakistan believes the long term multidimensional partnership between the two countries will be mutually beneficial and would contribute towards regional peace and stability. In recent times, one has seen an increased frequency of high-level official meetings as well as delegation exchanges between the two countries in which both sides appeared to be expressing commonality of views on major issues including Afghanistan and the Middle East and vowing to take forward their relations on a positive trajectory.
And indeed the offer made by Pakistan for developing strategic ties with Moscow is a positive and significant step that will enable both the countries to come further close to each other and build a strong partnership based on shared interests. Given the recent bonhomie, we have no doubt in saying that Moscow will be welcoming the offer and we expect that officials of the two countries will sit together at the earliest to frame basic contours of the partnership that we understand should envisage cooperation not only in the field of defence but also other sectors of the economy including energy, trade, agriculture and industry. In fact, the construction of infrastructure under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project has also opened a window of opportunity for Moscow to use it as an alternative route to access the Middle Eastern countries. It can also invest in the special economic zones, as these are open for all. So opportunities for cooperation between the two countries are diverse. What required is that they maintain the current upward trajectory in relations through high-level interactions. It will be a historic milestone in relations between the two countries if Russian President Vladimir Putin also visits Islamabad, which is long overdue, for signing of the strategic partnership that indeed will give further impetus to the relations.

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