August 2, 2018
Russia, an important defence ally to India, has signed an agreement with Pakistan for naval cooperation.
The MoU between the two countries, which were once considered bitter rivals, was inked during the visit of Pakistan Vice Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Kaleem Shaukat to the Russian Federation.
A Pakistani spokesperson said the MoU would help expand the existing naval cooperation between the two countries.
The two countries are also believed to have exchanged views on professional matters and security situation in the Indian Ocean.
The MoU comes close on the heels an accord between Moscow and Islamabad in April to enhance cooperation in the training of naval personnel and to hold a wide range of joint military exercises.
Pakistan has lately been turning towards Russia in terms of military support after US President Donald Trump halted the aid to the country shortly after the new year.
India has been quite concerned over Moscow’s growing fondness for Pakistan, especially in the defence field since most of the military equipment with Indian forces is of Russian origin.
A source, who did not wish to be identified, said India had already conveyed its view on Russia’s cooperation with Pakistan to Moscow.
‘’We have a special and strong relationship with Russia…they (Russians) have assured us that they will not do anything inimical to our interests,’’ the source added. Moscow has also assured New Delhi that it would not sell any arms to Pakistan.
Russia had, for the first time, conducted a joint military exercise with Pakistan in September 2016 focusing on counter-terrorism operations. Thereafter, it also conducted its first-ever foreign office level consultations with Pakistan on regional issues in December 2016.