Why Moscow cannot embrace Islamabad: Shafaqna Exclusive

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Pakistan has long been trying to woo Russia and Russian are also looking to access to the warm water of South Asia through Pakistan since long. The CPEC has given hope to both sides to have better ties which remained cold since the USSR’s disintegration in Afghan War where Pakistan played a key role. Since last few years both the countries have come inched close and thanks to China for playing role in this thaw. 

The two sides have also a limited degree of military collaboration, for the two countries have carried out anti-terror drills, and in 2014 the then army chief Raheel Sharif went to Moscow to pave the way for the sale of Russian helicopters to Pakistan. Beyond that, a deeper degree of military interaction looks difficult if not impossible. Hasn’t Turkey, a Nato member, managed to have the S-400 missile deal with Russia? But, Pakistan is not Turkey.

Despite Pakistan’s efforts Russia cannot completely tilt towards Pakistan due to Indian factor. or Moscow and New Delhi have been traditional friends, and it would be the height of naivety if we thought India would not behave like India and would let Pakistan pocket a major economic or military package with Russia. When India cannot tolerate even CPEC, what else do we expect from New Delhi when it comes to Russia?

Now recently, Indian media reported over the weekend that Russia promised Defense Minister Rajnath Singh that it won’t sell arms to Pakistan out of respect for New Delhi’s security interests, which if true, wouldn’t matter all that much in terms of the Russian-Pakistani rapprochement since military ties were never a major component thereof, but it would definitely be a big deal as regards Russian-Chinese relations since it would raise uncomfortable questions about why Russia continues to sell arms to the South Asian state despite its current tensions with the People’s Republic whose security interests Moscow also supposedly respects.

New Delhi can’t tolerate any improvement of Russian-Pakistani relations because it fears that such a development is aimed against it. That’s not true whatsoever at all since Russia never had any intention of harming India’s security interests by arming Pakistan against it.

Furthermore, the Pakistani arms market is incomparably smaller than the Indian one, the latter of which has an impressive $15 billion backlog of orders from Russia, and Islamabad couldn’t transition to using Russian equipment on a large scale in a short amount of time even if both countries wanted this to be the case since most of its wares are from China and the US.

Initially, this prompted some speculation on Pakistani social media about whether their country’s ongoing rapprochement with Russia would continue, but it also raises questions about Russian-Chinese relations if the story turns out to be true.

If there’s no truth to these claims, then they’d just be the third infowar attack that India carried out against Russia, which could risk unnecessarily provoking distrust between these decades-long strategic partners like the author explained in his hyperlinked background texts. Should there be some truth to this story, however, then it would actually be a pretty big deal for the reasons that will now be explained.