A Russian-Pakistani renaissance started in 2014 when the Kremlin removed its arms embargo against Islamabad. In 2015, Moscow agreed to sell four Mi-35M helicopters to Pakistan and welcomed Islamabad to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). This year already, Russian Army Commander-in-Chief Oleg Salyukov has announced the first-ever “mutual special drills in mountainous terrain,” and Khawaja Asif, defense minister of Pakistan, visited Moscow to further discuss enhancing cooperation.
Both nations additionally agreed on a construction project to transfer liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Karachi to Lahore. The pipeline could potentially supply 30 percent of the Pakistani population and assist in resolving the country’s ravaging energy crisis, as well as extol Russia’s influence.
The current rapprochement has taken many by surprise, as it might impinge upon Moscow and New Delhi’s cooperation in the long-term. However, Russia is still willing to proceed. What stands behind the Kremlin’s motives?
Russia still reveres its strategic and lengthy partnership with India and remains its largest arm supplier over the past three years. Both nations also are experiencing blossoming economic relations, with Narendra Modi and Vladimir Putin looking for a bright future together.
Russian-Indian relations might seem flourishing on the outside; inside, however, they have experienced a downward trend.
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Dmitriy Frolovskiy is a Moscow-based political analyst and writer. His writings have been featured in the Huffington Post, Foreign Policy Association, Russian International Affairs Council and others. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.