PAKISTAN Army Chief was in Russia last week where he met with Russian High Command and other dignitaries who matter. On agenda were not only Defence Collaboration possibilities but also strategic relations in the fast moving regional and global scenario including Middle East in which Russia have great interest and the same time because of Pakistan’s traditional relations with the Arabs and specially Saudi Arabia. Start of CPEC is also a matter of interest for Russia and Pakistan should keep Russia in board since CPEC will alsoopen doors for the Eastern and central of Russia.
Similarly a peaceful Afghanistan is not only in the interest of Russia but also for Pakistan. And more than five times president Zardari had a meetings with President Putin. President Putin’s visit to Pakistan was postponed due to law and order problem in Islamabad then. The relations has continue to strengthen and due to strategic change in the regionally and globally wherein Russia China have come closer strategically and economically, on the other side Pakistan China Strategic Cooperation opens many vistas of joint moves. It is important to note with Indiaentering in to India US strategic relation ship, a tilt has taken place in the balance of power in theregion which can not be ignored, and, it open a door of opportunity for Pakistan to boost relations in all fields with Russian Federation keeping cordial relations with USA. Let us examine areas of interest in detail between Pakistan and Russian federation.
In Defence cooperation Russia of late has been very open to Pakistan and has offered variety of assistance in Defence cooperation. Pakistan is already using Russian equipment of various segments of. Russia is the suppliers of MI17 Helicopters, and a deal is being closed for MI35 helicopters. Army Chiefs and senior army commanders visits have given a great boost to these relations among the defense forces. In the field of army transport, world renowned KAMAZ military trucks already in use and other categories are also under study. There is a great scope for cooperation in Space technology, communications and other allied equipment and ammunition. With strategic balance undergoing a change, Pakistan should think of developing offensive teeth for Pakistan Navy and seriously consider cooperation beside China from Russian Federation in the development of Blue Water Navy to check Indian hegemony. In communications, here is wealth of technology available in this field what is required seriousness. Russian Railway delegation on PRBF invitation visited last year. They met Government and Private sector. Russian Railway one of the best in the world has shown interests to up grade complete Pakistan Railway, lay new tracks and joint venture in engine manufacture and modern coaches on BOT basis. But there has to be willingness. Russia is one of the best in underground metro lines and Russian companies are willing to help in this. Many years back Mayer of Karachi visited Moscow but things did not move forward but for lack of interest on our part? Similarly in Industry large scope for Pakistan in an around with three trillion US $ economy Pakistan export can benefit a lot.
Russian industry is rich in technology in the area of automobiles, heavy machinery, roadconstruction equipment, Agriculture and Road construction tractors, and oil and gas explorationequipment. Russia can help in chemical, aircraft, pesticides, agriculture research, television and film production, and tire industry. Institute of scientific seismic survey has been helping Pakistan in search of oil and gas finds, the institute has now on the most modern lines and has success rate of over 90 percent. Similarly Russia is very advanced in Iron and steel, fertilizer. Their offer to participate in the existing steel mill privatization and establishment of new steel mills is already on the cards. Russia also is very keen set up energy plants provided they are given opportunity in seriousness, and Electricity can also be exported to Pakistan.
Russia is interested to invest in Thar coal project and so as to assist Pakistan in construction of dams by way of financial assistance and engineering on one to one basis. The sources privy to President of Russia during my visit last year informed me that Russia is extremely keen to engage with Pakistan on projects like Steel Mills, Railway, Oil and Gas, Energy, underground metro. They say we do not believe in MOUs but agreements, if we are investing hundred percent there should be not be any official hindrances.
In Feb 2009 to promote trade between two countries PRBF (Pakistan Russia Business Forum) was established. It is registered with Govt. It is to create a bridge between the two countries. Major Elite’s industries are the member of this body and its office bearers are elected for a term of two years. There was a persistent need of Forum outside the Chambers to coordinate and assist the companies. PRBF is a non-political, non-Partisan and non profitable body.
Pak-Russia Ties — New Dimension | Tariq Khalil