With its tested ally United States increasingly turning hostile to its policy on terrorism and threatening to make things harder, Pakistan has now started looking up to Russia for obtaining sophisticated military hardware - including air defence systems, fighter jets and battle tanks, media reports said on Saturday, April 7.
Pakistani Defence Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan confirmed the news that Islamabad was interested to buy weapons from Moscow during an interview to Russian news agency Sputnik, Pakistan's Express Tribute said.
The Pakistani minister said that his country is interested in air defence system and eyeing a wide range of Russian weapons technology. He said talks on air defence systems were on and once the negotiations were done, the announcement would be made.
Khan said Islamabad was interested in procuring Russia's T-90 tanks, which are also used by its arch-rivals India, under a long-term deal rather than engaging into a single purchase.
Khan also said that Pakistan was in the middle of negotiations for the purchase of the Russian Su-35 fighter jets and an agreement on it could be made in the next few years, Sputnik said. He also said that the interests of Pakistan and Russia converged over a democratic Afghanistan.
In the changed international equation, Pakistan has found more trusted allies in countries like Russia and China who are staunch opponent to the United States. Pakistan and Russia have particularly come closer over Afghanistan as both countries have backed each other's interests in the war-ravaged country.
Both have backed the Taliban to keep India at bay (for Pakistan) and curb the influence of the Islamic State (in case of Russia). China is also another cementing factor between Pakistan and Russia since Moscow's engaging with Beijing to defuse the crisis in Afghanistan has impressed Islamabad.
To conclude, Pakistan's quest to receive military hardware from Russia will leave a concern for countries like India and the US over the changed equations but that is how world politics has progressed over the years. Change has been its only continuity.