International arena has witnessed unexpected handshakes between world leaders, which are beyond the comprehension of people that elected them to serve their interests. What many fail to understand is that the shift in global power has to be respected to maintain the balance of power. There appears to be another dramatic yet anticipated establishment of relationship between Pakistan and Russia in recent times. The two countries have never had good relations since the Cold War and the Soviet-Afghan War looked to conceal any ground for the two states to engage in constructive dialogue.
During the 1971 War, Soviet Union was responsible for the supply of weapons to training camps of guerilla resistance Mukti Bahini movement in East Pakistan. This was further testified by former KGB intelligence chief, Leonid Shebarshin and Indian Intelligence Bureau officer Malloy Krishna Dhar. Consequently, assistance of such magnitude proved to be fatal as Pakistan succumbed to the assault and surrendered Dhaka, which later became capital of Bangladesh. On the contrary, Pakistan became a supplier for weapons and training camps during the Soviet-Afghan War in Afghanistan. The war that started in 1979 concluded with withdrawal of Soviet troops and disintegration of the Soviet Union.
However, it appears that the two states have decided to bury the hatchet and hope to cooperate for regional stability. Earlier, Moscow hosted representatives of Islamabad and Beijing to discuss developments in Afghanistan to ensure that peace prevails at all times and that the growing threats are exterminated from the winds of South Asia.
Moscow’s generosity towards Islamabad is a part of its wider shift in its foreign policy. The two countries held their first ever joint military exercise in September 2016 and their first bilateral discussion on regional problems in December. The warm gestures by Russia were observed in 2014 when it lifted the arms embargo on the Pakistan in 2014. Moreover, Pakistan is due to receive Mi-35M attack helicopters in 2017.
Fortune and diplomatic efforts continues to favor Pakistan while its neighbor India would have to revisit its policy for Afghanistan. It is evident that Pakistan has a major role to play in economic growth and stability in the region. Moreover, Donald Trump has also been observed to have a soft corner for Russians, which would mean that India would have to reconsider its stance towards Pakistan and the region entirely. Earlier, Donald Trump’s defense secretary retired Marine Corps General James Mattis assured to work on restoration of relationship with Pakistan. Russia’s keen interest in Afghanistan suggests that it has to be taken into confidence for ensuring that peace process continues. Pakistan would have to be careful as power shifts from one driver seat to another.
Recently, Pakistan had closed down the Chaman border last month after troops from both sides traded gunshots, which left 15 dead. However, the border has been reopened for trade after more than three weeks on the first day of Ramzan. The two countries have been on the front at accusing each other for exporting terrorism. However, the ironic history that the two states share, it is imperative that the two countries look towards peace for progress in the region.
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