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New Era of Cooperation Dawning: Why Pakistani-Russian Ties Matter More Than Ever

© AFP 2023 ALEXANDR DEMYANCHUKRussian President Vladimir Putin meets with Prime Minister of Pakistan Shehbaz Sharif on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) leaders' summit in Samarkand on September 15, 2022.
Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Prime Minister of Pakistan Shehbaz Sharif on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) leaders' summit in Samarkand on September 15, 2022. - Sputnik India, 1920, 30.05.2024
Pakistan's bid to join BRICS-plus, its increasing imports of Russian oil, and growing exports of vegetables and fruits signify a pivotal shift in Pakistan-Russia relations as both countries are centring on new economic partnerships at regional and global levels.
Pakistan is reevaluating its stance, foreign policy, and cooperation in light of emerging global trends and changes. In the past, the state was a staunch ally of the US and its forces in South Asia, aligning itself with US national interests.
As outlined in Pakistan's National Security Policy 2022–26, the government has chosen to embrace a more nuanced and flexible strategy, steering clear of alliance politics. Pakistan is willing to cooperate with all nations in the realms of geo-economics and geo-strategy cooperation and partnership.
Last year, Pakistan's ambassador to Russia stated that the country plans to take its relations with Russia to a more advanced level in 2024, viewing it as a factor of stability in the region. Over the past two years, the two nations have collaborated in areas such as regional security, including Afghanistan, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), energy, trade and education, as the Russia provides high-quality education, particularly in STEM fields, at affordable rates for foreign students.

Advantages Of Pakistan-Russia Relationship

The bilateral relations between the two countries are characterized by warmth and trust, a source in the Pakistani embassy in Moscow told Sputnik, as they regularly hold dialogue in in different areas. Last year, the volume of bilateral trade reached an unprecedented level of 1 billion USD, according to the expert. Moreover, he noted that there is an immense potential for further cooperation in the energy and connectivity spheres, besides, both states have close views on a wide range of international issues, allowing them to collaborate and support each other on international platforms, particularly BRICS.

"Overall, relations between Pakistan and Russia are developing along an upward trajectory, and we hope that both countries will continue to work to strengthen their ties in fields of mutual interest," source quoted.

However, the current wave of terrorism, stretching from Kabul to Islamabad and Moscow to Tehran, impacts all regional players who are confronting the same challenges, which require cooperation and partnership.
The source emphasized the importance of collaborating with Russia as a global and regional player in maintaining security and stability. He believes that Pakistan can contribute to creating a more secure and stable environment by partnering with the country and other nations to address common issues such as terrorism, extremism, drug trafficking, and cross-border crime.

"All interested parties can benefit from Pakistan's extensive experience in these fields. Moreover, from a strategic perspective, such relations can help address common challenges and advance mutual interests on the global stage," he further quoted.

Similarly, thus, the first cargo of citrus fruit from Pakistan to Russia was successfully delivered on new land route through Iran and Azerbaijan.

Bumps Along the Pak-Russia Relationship Road

Contrary to baseless allegations circulating amongst anti-Pakistani factions, the bond between the nations is actually gaining momentum. False rumours accusing Pakistan of arming Ukraine, and fuelling regional terrorism, fail to detract from the reality of the situation. In light of past apprehensions regarding the Indo-Russia alliance, the state has recognized the limitations of its longstanding relationship with the US, which has yielded minimal advantages and instead resulted in chaos. Consequently, Pakistan is shifting its focus towards fostering a more robust partnership.

"Overall, the prospects for the Pakistan-Russia relationship in the future are bright and promising. The key challenge, in my opinion, is the lack of knowledge about each other, while all opportunities for fruitful and beneficial cooperation are there," the source highlighted.

After former Prime Minister Imran Khan visited Moscow last year, issues arose due to the simultaneous import of oil and wheat from the Russia. This caused problems within Pakistan's political framework and ultimately led to a perceived shift in Imran Khan's government.

"Pakistan, with a population of 235.8 million, is a strategically significant country that is of concern to major global powers, including Russia, China, and the US. Last year, it faced challenges from certain powers due to its efforts to improve relations with Russia. As a result, Pakistan's geopolitical position and ties with various powers have become a point of focus and concern," Muhammad Taimur Fahad Khan, a geopolitical analyst and think-tank member associated with the Institute of Strategic Studies in Islamabad, shared with Sputnik.

Therefore, as geopolitical dynamics change, the state's diplomatic agility and readiness to adjust to evolving circumstances put the nation on track to becoming a shrewd regional player in the intricate landscape of both regional and global politics.
Moreover, Pakistan, as a close ally of China, can greatly benefit from enhanced cooperation with Russia in light of its strong partnership with Beijing on addressing geopolitical and geostrategic challenges.
Particularly, the state should take lessons from India's pragmatic approach, which has maintained robust trade and economic relations with Russia despite the West's so-called sanctions. This serves as a guiding principle for the Global South to engage constructively with energy-rich country, a strategy that Pakistan is poised to emulate for its own strategic advantage.
Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Prime Minister of Pakistan Shehbaz Sharif on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) leaders' summit in Samarkand on September 15, 2022. - Sputnik India, 1920, 25.05.2024
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