Experts suggest Pakistan and Russia strengthen ties

Experts discuss the various aspects of the relations between Pakistan and Russia

A panel discussion on Pakistan and Russia’s current relations and what the future holds was organized by the Center for Strategic Perspective (CSP) at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI).

The discussion panel had some very eminent names, and they discussed various matters of importance for the two countries and how they can further strengthen their relations in the future.

The panel comprised of esteemed academics and scholars including Dr. Leonid Savin, Geopolitical Analyst, Chief Editor at Geopolitical and Member Military-Scientific Society MoD; Prof. Dr. Shabir Ahmed Khan, Director (Russia, China & Central Asia), University of Peshawar;  Prof. Dr. Adam Saud, Dean of Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Bahria University, Islamabad; and Mr. Taimur Khan, Research Associate, CSP-ISSI. 

Director CSP and Editor Najam Rafique said that two significant developments in Pakistan-Russia relations had taken place in November 2020: Russia’s infrastructure assistance in the North-South gas pipeline project Pak-Russia joint military exercises (Druzhba-V).

Dr. Savin opined that although there is still lack of knowledge about Pakistan in his country, Russia is nurturing it relations with the former. Despite the Soviet legacy and historical baggage between the countries, economic and military cooperation facilitates them to move into a productive engagement. The realization of Pakistan’s utility can be seen in various developments such as China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and membership of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

Director General ISSI, Amb. Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry said that America’s Pivot to Asia and China’s overall growing clout in the region and the world had brought shifts in many state-to-state alignments. The current trajectory of Pak-Russia relations is an eventual product of these developments.

Dr. Shabir was confident about the nature and dynamics of the relations between Pakistan and Russia. However, he particularly highlighted the need to strengthen relations by connecting Russia and Central Asian countries with Pakistan through Afghanistan. He suggested to connect North-South connectivity project with Russian and Central Asia via Afghanistan. He highlighted education, food, agriculture, and energy as possible areas for cooperation.

Prof. Dr. Adam Saud said that strengthening the core bilateral relations which are perception management and mutual understanding on both sides, is essential. He proposed to gradually strengthen military cooperation through SCO and technological cooperation in civil nuclear assistance. He said that both countries could arrange roadshows, increase cooperation on technical education, tourism, people-to-people contact and medical vaccine development to build close bilateral cooperation.

Taimur Khan listed some areas of convergence for Moscow and Islamabad as major converging points of interest in Afghanistan. He believed that US-India strategic partnership could be a significant determinant of Pak-Russia relations. He also suggested expanding CPEC-related activities in the region to Russia.

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