Russian Def Min to visit Pakistan, talks to improve defence cooperation on the cards

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Islamabad, Nov 20: Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu will arrive here on Thursday to hold talks with Pakistan leadership to improve bilateral defence cooperation and sale of military equipment.

So far no official announcement has been made but the minister would have important meetings in Islamabad before returning back this evening.

Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu
The two sides would discuss full spectrum of defence collaboration during Shoigu’s visit, the Dawn reported.

Russia and Pakistan have been working on enhancing defence cooperation. Exchange of visits by military commanders in recent years is an indication of progress achieved in this regard.

The visit also comes against the backdrop of reports that Moscow had given go-ahead for sale of MI-35 helicopters to Pakistan, which is interested in purchasing up to 20 helicopters.

Shoigu earlier in the week visited China where he said that Defence Ministries of Russia and China were seeking to form a regional collective security system in the Asia-Pacific due to concerns that the US was attempting to strengthen its military and political clout in the region.

Pakistan's former ambassador to Russia Khalid Khattak said the Russian Defence Minister's upcoming visit reflected improvement in ties between the two countries.

"We are entering a phase of defence collaboration in procurement and production. It's important," he added.

A defence source told Dawn that the Russian side was unlikely to make any major announcement during Shoigu's trip because of President Vladimir Putin's visit to Delhi next month.


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