The relationship between Russia and India will not be affected by its expanding military cooperation with Pakistan, according to Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov.
Russia and Pakistan are currently negotiating on the delivery of Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets and Mi-35M helicopters, which was previously agreed upon by both countries.
Ryabkov believed that that contract under negotiations would not cause jealousy on the part of India or Pakistan. According to him, Pakistan is a close partner of Russia, and the relationship between both countries is improving in different aspects from military to energy.
Earlier this year, Pakistani Defense Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif visited Russia to improve the military relations between both countries. He met his Russia counterpart Sergei Shoigu. He said, “We agreed to enhance cooperation in both defense industry and military training.”
Last year, Russia and Pakistan signed a bilateral defense cooperation agreement to strengthen its military-to-military relations. Both countries are expected to sign a technical cooperation agreement for the sale of Russian military equipment to Islamabad.
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif told Russian President Vladimir Putin that he wants his country to have a “multidimensional relationship with Moscow during the recently concluded Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Ufa.
Pakistan strengthens relations with Russia
Pakistan has been strengthening its relations with Russia while confronting increasing tension with the United States regarding its efforts to fight the Islamist militants in the region. The U.S. now views Pakistan as an undependable partner in fighting terrorist groups.
Pakistan and Russia are becoming closer because of the changing geopolitical dynamics, according to political observers. During the 1980s, the U.S. and Pakistan fought together to defeat Soviet forces that occupied Afghanistan.
On the other hand, Russia has a strong relationship with India, a long-time rival of Pakistan. Since 1947, the neighbor South Asian countries have fought each other in three major wars.
India and Pakistan decided to join the SCO. The security organization is led by China and Russia, which both wants the rival South Asian countries to become good friends.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif discussed all issues affecting their countries such as terrorism and Kashmir during the SCo summit. They agreed on a roadmap to improve relations and decided that their national security advisers should meet to discuss concerns regarding terrorism.
However, the optimism to improve the relations between India and Pakistan was damaged after their military forces exchanged fires that caused civilian casualties in July. The recent conflict happened along the Line of Control, the defector border between the countries.
Russia-Pakistan Gas Pipeline deal
Last month, Russia approved the draft of the intergovernmental agreement with Pakistan regarding the construction of the North-South gas pipeline from the city of Karachi to Lahore.
Earlier this month, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said North-South gas pipeline agreement is ready for signing. The Russian and Pakistani governments are expected to ink the deal by the end of September.
“This document is ready for signing, and I will make a visit in the near future so that we can sign this deal on building a pipeline. I think this will be at the end of September,” said Novak.
The project costs approximately $3 billion, which included the construction of oil and liquefied natural gas pipelines and terminals. RT Global Resources, a subsidiary of Rostec will handle the project.