‘Blank check’ to Pakistan
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visited Islamabad last week after nine long years. At this time, he gave an important message to the Pakistani leadership. The message was from Russian President Vladimir Putin. “I have a message from my president,” Lavrov said during the visit. “Russia is open to providing whatever Pakistan needs, including cooperation.”
According to a senior Pakistani official, Lavrov made the remarks at a closed-door meeting between the Russian foreign minister and Pakistani authorities. The official added that in other words, the Russian president had proposed a “blank check” to Pakistan. Asked what he meant by a blank check, the official said Putin had sent a message to Pakistan through his top diplomat that Moscow would help Islamabad on any issue. If there is a need for gas pipelines, corridors, defense or any other kind of cooperation, Russia is ready to provide it.
Pakistan and Russia are already working on the North-South gas pipeline project. In 2015, the two countries signed an agreement to lay a gas pipeline from Karachi to Lahore. The estimated cost of the project is কোটি 200 million. So far, work on the project has not been able to begin due to fears of possible US sanctions. As a result, both sides recently agreed to begin work on developing a new infrastructure. This may pave the way for the start of work on this project.
Russia has also expressed interest in reviving Pakistan Steel Mills. In fact, the factory was built by Russia. Similarly, Moscow has expressed interest in Pakistan’s hydropower project. Pakistan has expressed interest in investing 600 million in various projects. The official said that now Pakistan is waiting for the follow-up of this successful tour.
What is Pakistan gaining from Russia’s air defense system? In response to this question, the official said that they did not speak specifically about this issue. However, Russia has expressed interest in increasing cooperation with Pakistan. Sergei Lavrov told a joint news conference with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi that Moscow was ready to supply Pakistan with special military equipment in the face of counter-terrorism risks. However, he did not elaborate.
Note that relations between Pakistan and Russia have improved over the years. During the Cold War, these two countries were fiercely opposed to each other. Then, in 2011, when Pakistan’s relations with the United States began to deteriorate, relations between Pakistan and Russia began to take on a new dimension. At that time it was decided to change the strategy of Pakistan’s foreign policy. As part of this, Pakistan seeks closer ties with Russia through a broader foreign policy.
In the early stages, the two countries silently created a common ground. In 2016, this effort paid off. At that time, Russia decided to send troops to Pakistan for the first joint exercise in history. Russia did not even listen to India’s objections to the exercise. Since then, the two countries have been organizing the exercise regularly. It is believed that the cooperation between the two countries has deepened through this.
Pakistan hopes Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit Pakistan. Through this, full friendship will be formed between the two rivals of the Cold War. On the contrary, at one time India was a close ally of Russia. But Russia’s relationship with India is now moving in the opposite direction. The two countries still have good relations. But the way one country used to express warmth about another country has disappeared.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has refused to meet with visiting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. This is a rare occurrence. Russia, on the other hand, is well aware that India’s inclination towards the United States is a threat to Russia’s interests. Lavrov has indirectly opposed the formation of new alliances between the United States, India, Japan and Australia. This context is gradually bringing Russia, China and Pakistan into a separate alliance. Source: Tribune.