Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu and his Pakistani counterpart Khawaja Asif signed a deal on military cooperation in Islamabad on Thursday.
Shoigu said after talks with Pakistan’s defence minister that the agreement was an important step towards strengthening ties between Moscow and Islamabad in the military sphere.
“During the meeting, we agreed that bilateral military cooperation should have a great practical focus and contribute to increasing combat efficiency of our armed forces,” Shoigu said.
The minister said both sides discussed a range of specific events of particular importance.
This is the first visit by Russia’s defence minister to Pakistan after the collapse of the former Soviet Union. The last visit took place as far back as 1969, when the former USSR’s then defence minister Andrey Grechko made a trip to the country.
Signal to India?
Does this send any signal to India? It was more than four decades that Moscow kept Pakistan at distance owing to the Cold War politics and even after Moscow remained friendly as ever. Now that India has moved closer to the Western camp and that President Vladimir Putin is aggregating lost Cold War relics, it may send a strong signal to India either to go for more defence procurements from Russia or they will be sent to Pakistan, upsetting regional balance of power.
(With inputs from IANS)