Russia Pakistan inch closer further

Russia Pakistan inch closer further

ISLAMABAD - Russian Ambassador Alexey Dedov on Wednesday said Russia was closely in touch with Pakistan on counter-terrorism and strategic issues.

Speaking here at the Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI), the Russian ambassador said the military cooperation between the two countries was well beyond the supplies of helicopters and expanded to conduct of ground and navy exercises as well.

The Russian ambassador said Intergovernmental Commission (IGC) on trade, economic, scientific and technical cooperation between Russia and Pakistan (IGC) was working hard to build business ties.

“Russia believes that working together in IGC and in other bilateral mechanisms will help fast implementation of bilateral projects,” he said.

He expressed satisfaction over the growth level in Pak-Russia bilateral trade, which he said during 2017 bloomed by 33 percent and later reached to 82 percent in last five months from January 2018 onwards.

He said Russia was interested in carrying out projects of mutual interest with Pakistan in areas including energy,steel industry,optical fibre, pharmaceuticals, water and sanitation.

Dedov mentioned that several MoUs were already in place between Pakistan and Russia for cooperation in science and technology, banking and transport of Liquified Natural Gas through gas pipeline.

On Afghanistan, he said Pakistan’s role was important as along with Russia and China, the three countries were committed for a peaceful diplomatic Afghan-owned and Afghan-led solution to the issue.

He termed the Pak-China relations as “very solid” and said Russia welcomed this relationship, adding that his country’s relations with China were currently on highest terms in history.

The Russian ambassador said Russia never had an objection over Pakistan’s membership in Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and would extend support in future as well.

To a question on playing role of mediator on ending stalemate in relations between Pakistan and India, he said the efforts could be exercised when both sides requested about it.

However, he said Russia was trying to facilitate this process by engaging both countries.

On Kashmir, he said the situation was very complicated and Russia’s stance on Kashmir was that both Pakistan and India should find a bilateral solution to the issue.

He said Russia’s main objective was maintaining geo-political stability in the world rather than becoming and behaving like a super power.

He said Gwadar seaport was a very prospective project and would serve well for Pakistan. - APP