Pakistani-Russian relations are a puzzle. In a geostrategic sense, it is time for Pakistan to reconsider its foreign policy so that it can turn to Russia where it does not interfere with ties with the United States. So says Pakistani lawyer and analyst Sheraz Zaka (Sheraz Zaka), whose article was published in the newspaper Daily Times.
Relations between states should not depend on emotions. In the current era, economic interests play a key role in international relations, the author points out.
The analyst considers the “speeches” of US President Donald Trump, who verbally “fed and inflamed nationalist feelings on the altar of internationalism,” as a “huge mistake”. This position of the American president has weakened the position of the United States in international politics. In the future, it is likely that new alliances will emerge, and countries such as Pakistan will have the opportunity to “establish new partnerships and become a key player in new alliances,” the author believes.
Since independence, relations between the United States and Pakistan have been growing rapidly. At present, however, the US is more supportive of India than of Pakistan, reminds Sheraz Zack. Against this background, Pak-Russian relations are changing. On September 25, the troops of Russia and Pakistan conducted joint military maneuvers to combat terrorism under the symbolic name Friendship 2017. It is becoming obvious that relations between Pakistan and Russia are improving when the ties between the United States and Pakistan weaken.
The proximity to the United States after Pakistan gained independence "always had a negative effect on Pakistan-Russian relations," recalls Zack. This is easy to explain: during the USSR, the government of Pakistan preferred to form strong relations with the United States, which promoted the ideas of a free market economy and capitalism.
Now we have to contemplate President Trump, who is belligerent to Pakistan: the tone of the latter “remains aggressive.” How long will Trump stick to such rhetoric? What “side effects” will this have in Pakistan-Russia relations?
Here two factors are important, the author of the material considers. The first is to look into history and see how Pakistan has demonstrated consistency in maintaining friendly relations with Russia. The second is to identify the role that Russia can play in creating a “balance” between India and Pakistan.
The biggest problem with Pakistan’s foreign policy is that Pakistan is “insecure”. The people at the helm of power believe that without the help of a superpower, Pakistan’s existence is threatened by poor relations with India. And it always has been. In Pakistan, foreign policy has always been “defensive”. Therefore, politicians "could neither experiment, nor explore new aspects or trends in foreign policy." Pakistan’s foreign policy has always been one-sided. Consequently, after seventy years of independence, instead of the ideas of friendship, Pakistan still defends the interests of its foreign "chefs".
Given the current geo-strategic situation, Pakistan needs to reconsider its foreign policy, Zak believes. Pakistan should look at Russia without simultaneously taking an “aggressive stance” against the United States. Similarly, Russia: it must advance its interests, forgetting about the former Soviet hostility against Pakistan during the Afghan-Soviet 1980 war.
On the other hand, friendly relations between Russia and India will remain a problem for Pakistan.
In the history between Moscow and Islamabad there were periods of warming. One should not forget that from 1947 to 1950. and from 1965 to 1969. The Soviet Union and Pakistan collaborated in various fields related to education, culture and trade. In 1965, the Soviet Union played a pivotal role in concluding a ceasefire agreement between India and Pakistan. In 1970, the Soviet Union assisted Pakistan in the construction of a steel plant. Subsequently, the author continues, relations between the Soviet Union and Pakistan deteriorated: in 1971, the Soviet Union vetoed the UN Security Council resolution on the intervention of India in East Pakistan. Pakistan considered this intervention a “stab in the back”.
The “tension” between Russia and Pakistan increased even more when the Soviet Union sent troops to Afghanistan in 1979, and Pakistan, with the help of US-supported Taliban, joined the indirect war against the Soviet Union. Over time, the Soviet Union realized that Pakistan’s geo-strategic position could not be undermined, Zack points out.
In 2005, communications between India and the United States began to improve, and in 2008, the United States and India formed a nuclear agreement that was a major breakthrough in relations between the two countries. Russia warned India about an alliance with the United States. Relations between the United States and Pakistan “remained unstable,” the analyst believes, despite the fact that Pakistan has become a state of “front line” in the US war against terror. It is also difficult not to notice that Russia "in the past provided diplomatic support to India on the Kashmir issue and was the largest supplier of military equipment in India."
In 2011, the United States, along with NATO forces, attacked Pakistan, attacking the Salalah base. This led to the rupture of relations between the two states. Subsequently, the Russian government condemned the attack.
In 2014, a “major breakthrough” will occur in the relations between Russia and Pakistan: the Russian government lifted the embargo on arms sales to Pakistan. Despite India’s protests, the Russian government has sold four Mi-35M helicopters to Pakistan. In addition, an agreement on the sale of Su-35 fighters (in the original “fighter jets S-35”) is being developed.
It should not be assumed, of course, that the purchase of several Russian planes by Pakistan and a change in Pakistan’s relations with the United States will lead to a deterioration of ties between Russia and India. To think so is to indulge in the “illusion of greatness,” the author writes. The creation and development of friendly relations between India and Russia took decades. And what took decades, can not be destroyed "in one night."
For Pakistan, it is an “indispensable” reliance on a superpower. Only by relying on a superpower will Pakistan stand on its feet. Strengthening ties with Russia can meet Pakistan’s energy needs, the analyst admits. Currently, the European Union adheres to the regime of trade sanctions against Russia, so Pakistan has the opportunity to form long-term trade relations with Russia. It is expected that the states will also cooperate in the defense sphere and the creation of a counter-terrorism alliance to counter the threat of the “Islamic state” (prohibited in Russia) in Afghanistan.
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Sheraz Zak is hardly mistaken about "meeting Pakistan's energy needs." A few days ago it became known about the agreement between Russia and Pakistan on creating conditions for the supply of liquefied natural gas from Russia to the republic's re-gasification terminals. The agreement was signed by Deputy Minister of Energy of the Russian Federation Yuri Senturin and Deputy Head of the Ministry of Energy of Pakistan Sikandaram Sultan Raja.
“The document provides for the creation of conditions for the Russian side to supply liquefied natural gas to Pakistan’s re-gasification terminals to meet the needs of the republic’s energy sector,” the Russian Ministry of Energy quoted the site as saying TASS.
It is assumed that within two months after the entry into force of the agreement, Pakistan LNG and Russian Gazprom will sign a long-term gas purchase and sale agreement, the agency said.
Earlier, October 6, Prime Minister D. Medvedev approved the draft agreement with Pakistan on gas supply.
Indeed: where relations with the United States deteriorate, ties with Russia will quickly grow stronger!
Observed and commented on Oleg Chuvakin
- especially for topwar.ru
- especially for topwar.ru