Russia & Pakistan's Growing Engagement

Discussion in 'Strategic & Geopolitical Issues' started by Spring Onion, May 6, 2011.

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  1. salman108
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    salman108 SENIOR MEMBER

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    Well, friendship is always welcome, and there is no harm in making friends around.

    However as people from Hindu-stan know very well, there is no such things as Friendship, only interests.
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  2. regular
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    We never turn down any hand extended to us for the friendship no matter what....this is our norm and values....We always respect and give value to the friendly hands towards us.We will give repect and great importance to the Russians friendship towards us.....:smokin:
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  3. SinoChallenger
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    SinoChallenger BANNED

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    Russia dislikes USA and it has figured out that India is way too pro-Anglo to be trustworthy. China of course already dislikes India and India did itself no favors by constantly provoking China.

    So now Russia + China decide to ally with Pakistan against USA and exclude India. India will probably ally itself with USA. You can enjoy the fine company of Japan, South Korea, Philippines, Israel and Saudi Arabia.

    If you are still interested in non-alignment, you're stuck with only the Vietnamese, who otherwise have no friends at all.
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  4. lem34
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    FIRST A PAKISTANI PERSPECTIVE
    This has been discussed to death:


    http://www.defence.pk/forums/strate...k-op-ed-mutual-blackmail-eto-afg-pak-ind.html

    All I would say is that this guy says:

    Unfortunately for Pakistan, if the international community succeeds in its current endeavors in Afghanistan, it would end up leaving behind a state that would be anything but deferential to Pakistan

    The international community has by actions stated that this is americas intention not international endeavours and is a failure because russia, china, iran and most of afghanistans neighbourhood is not interested in the american intention

    ---------- Post added at 02:55 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:53 PM ----------

    Default Re: Def.pk op-ed: Mutual Blackmail, ETO for Afg, Pak and Ind

    South Asia
    Nov 4, 2011




    US's post-2014 Afghan agenda falters
    By M K Bhadrakumar

    There couldn't have been a more appropriate venue than the old Byzantine capital on the Bosphorus to hold a regional conference on Afghanistan at the present juncture. The conference at Istanbul on Thursday carried an impressive title - "Security and Cooperation in the Heart of Asia". The "heart" had 14 chambers - Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, China, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Russia, India, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

    The conference was packed with high drama, which was unsurprising, since its "brain" - the United States - acted almost imperviously to the beatings of the heart.

    Intrigue and counter-intrigue dogged the conference from the outset to such an extent that its eventual failure was a forgone conclusion.

    The US and its Western allies began with high hopes that North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) partner Turkey would secure from the conference a declaration - preferably signed by the "14 heartland" states - that would prepare the ground for establishing a regional security and integration mechanism on the pattern of the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). In turn, this declaration would take wing at the forthcoming Bonn II conference in December (to which Germany has invited 90 countries and 15 international organizations).

    In the event, Thursday ended on a somewhat miserable note in Istanbul, the heart of Asia having suffered even a minor rupture. Uzbekistan broke loose and stayed away at the last minute, with the remaining 13 countries finally settling for an anodyne joint statement that will become the latest in a series of platitudes and good intentions since the US invaded Afghanistan.

    Bound to crash-land
    The conference agenda was lop-sided in the first instance. Instead of focusing on the pivotal issue of a viable Afghan national reconciliation, how to set up such a process and how to secure it as "Afghan-led" and genuinely "Afghan-owned", the masterminds of the conference - the United States in particular - loaded it with geopolitics.

    The conference was burdened with an ambitious agenda of imposing on the region under Western leadership a mechanism to mediate in a host of intra-regional disputes and differences which are, arguably, tangential issues that could have a bearing on Afghanistan's stabilization but are not the greatest concern today.
    This was, to put mildly, like putting the cart before the horse. The Western masterminds needlessly introduced a controversial template for a new security architecture for Central and South Asia, complete with an institutional mechanism and a "contact group" for monitoring the implementation of a matrix of "confidence-building measures".

    This was an idea that was bound to crash-land, given the deep suspicions about the US's intentions in the "war on terror" in Afghanistan and the unwillingness of the regional states to accept the permanent habitation of the West as the arbiter-cum-moderator-cum-mediator in their region.

    During the preparatory stages at official meetings in Oslo, Norway and Kabul through September and October, it became evident that there were no takers in the region for a new regional security organization presided over by the West. Russia, China, Iran, Pakistan and most of the Central Asian countries demurred on the US proposal for a new regional security architecture. India, which resents outside mediation on its disputes, kept quiet so as not to offend the US, while probably remaining confident that Pakistan would do its job anyway.

    Moscow came up with its own counterproposal in the shape of a statement of principles of regional cooperation listing political, economic and other measures to build confidence and encourage cooperation among the countries neighboring Afghanistan. The Russian approach found favor with China, Pakistan and Iran, and being unexceptional in any case, it gained traction and ultimately seems to have paved the way for Thursday's joint statement at Istanbul.

    However, Washington (and Ankara) continued efforts until the last minute to somehow institutionalize a regional process through "working groups" and a "structured" form of consultations. But Pakistan would appear to have put its foot firmly down on these ideas, pointing out that an OSCE-type security related conference or a full-fledged security apparatus would be completely unacceptable since there was a world of difference between the Cold-War compulsions which initiated the Helsinki process and the prevailing Afghan situation.

    Pakistan's contention is that Afghanistan's neighboring countries could at best have a supportive role in ensuring the peace, security and territorial integrity of that country and instead of proposing new mechanisms, the focus should be on implementation of the existing mechanisms for peace, security and development.

    The US game plan served four objectives. One, Washington hoped to "shackle" Pakistan within the four walls of a regional security mechanism dominated by the West so that it becomes one protagonist among equals and its claim to an eminent status in any Afghan peace process gets diluted.

    Two, the regional mechanism would give the US and its allies a handle to retain the lead role in the search for an Afghan settlement and also beyond during the post 2014 period. Three, Washington estimated that the regional security apparatus would inevitably come to overshadow the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) as the number one regional security process in Central Asia and South Asia which, in turn, would erode the dominant influence of Russia and China in Central Asia.

    Finally, the US envisaged the regional mechanism to provide the security underpinning for its "New Silk Road" project, which is running on a parallel track - quintessentially a modern version of its "Greater Central Asia strategy" dating back to the George W Bush presidency. The New Silk Road proposes Afghanistan as a regional hub to bring Central Asia and South Asia closer together under the garb of regional development and integration.

    Its real intent, however, is to roll back the pre-eminent position of Russia and China in Central Asia and to gain direct access to the vast mineral resources of the region through communication links that bypass Russia and Iran. The US's agenda included gaining for NATO some sort of formal, institutional role in regional security in Central Asia. (Safeguarding the energy pipelines is a newfound 21st century "challenge" that NATO proposes to assume.)

    Conceivably, Moscow and Beijing spotted a red herring from day one. The most significant outcome of the Istanbul Conference, therefore, might turn out to be that the SCO will hasten its decision-making process and swiftly steer through the applications of Pakistan and India for membership of that organization.

    A Russian statement issued on Monday following Foreign Ministry-level political consultations with China in Moscow stated that the two countries discussed the modalities of finalization of the membership of the two South Asian countries in SCO and "spoke of expediting the process" of membership of India and Pakistan (and Afghanistan's status as an SCO "Observer"). The likelihood is that a decision in this regard might even be formalized at the SCO Heads of Governments meeting due in St Petersburg on Monday.

    Note of triumphalism
    Underlying all this high drama has been the realization in Washington (and the regional capitals) that the political-military situation in Afghanistan is decisively shifting in Pakistan's favor, prompting a desperate Western attempt to ensure the US and NATO's permanent military presence in the strategic Hindu Kush.

    Without doubt, a dangerous period lies ahead for the US and its NATO allies with the strong possibility of Mullah Omar's forces and the Haqqani network openly collaborating with a view to intensifying the insurgent activities.

    The devastating suicide car bomb attack in Kabul killing 13 American and 3 Australian soldiers may well be the harbinger of a new offensive. Its timing - on the eve of the Istanbul conference - carried a barely-disguised message to the US administration that crunch time has come and the US strategy to degrade the Taliban and force them to come to the negotiating has not only failed, but the Taliban seem more than ever convinced that they are inching toward conclusive victory.

    Clearly, US secretary of state Hillary Clinton's visit to Islamabad 10 days ago has not helped reduce the huge trust deficit in the US-Pakistan relationship. The Pakistani military seems amused that Clinton made a virtue out of dire necessity by graciously "offering" to Islamabad the "primacy" to "squeeze" the Haqqanis and bring them to the negotiating table.

    Whereas, the heart of the matter is that the US's covert attempts in the recent months to gain direct access to the Taliban leadership and to suo moto initiate a peace process from a position of strength lie in shambles today.

    On the other hand, Pakistan's estimation is that US President Barack Obama is going to find himself more and more on the defensive as next year's election approaches, lessening even further the US's capacity to pressure Islamabad. A tone of triumphalism is appearing in the Pakistani discourses.

    Indeed, the Obama administration, too, would sense that the factors of advantage are incrementally tilting in Pakistan's favor and that the US lacks any real leverage to influence the Pakistani military. The US roped in Turkey to push the agenda of the Istanbul Conference, given its traditionally warm and friendly relations with Pakistan. The Saudi and United Arab Emirates presence in Istanbul was also expected to influence Pakistan. But the Istanbul Conference may have resulted in causing some injury to Turkish-Pakistani ties. A Turkish observer wrote:

    Cold winds have started to blow between the two [Turkey and Pakistan] due to the Afghan problem ... Islamabad is quite annoyed at Turkey for its role in the conference ... Basically, Pakistan is angry at Turkey and the US, which want a result oriented conference. For the conference to bear fruit an institutionalization of the process is a must. In other words in the absence of some kind of a mechanism, to monitor the process that might include implementing confidence-building measures, everything said in Istanbul will stay on paper.

    Turkish diplomacy has tried to calm down the Pakistanis, telling them that the presence of Turkey in the regional framework should alleviate the concerns of Pakistanis vis-a-vis other players. After all the Turks do not have a secret agenda of strengthening the hands of India at the expense of Pakistan but I am doubtful that they succeeded in reassuring Pakistan.

    All in all, from the Russian and Chinese point of view, it becomes desirable - almost imperative - from now onward while looking ahead, that Pakistan is enabled to have strategic autonomy to withstand the US pressure. Most certainly, they would appreciate Pakistan's steadfast role in frustrating the US design to install a regional security mechanism for continued interference in the Central Asian region.

    On balance, the petering out of the Istanbul Conference constitutes a grave setback for the upcoming Bonn Conference II in December. With the Istanbul Conference failing to erect an institutionalized framework of regional cooperation, Bonn Conference II lacks a viable agenda except that 2011 happens to provide a great photo-op, being the 10th anniversary of the first conference in December 2001.

    The original intent was to ensure that the Taliban representatives attended the Bonn Conference. But short of a miracle, that is not going to happen. That leaves the US and its NATO allies to work out the planned transition in Afghanistan in 2014 in isolation, as they gather for the alliance's summit in May in Chicago.

    In sum, the regional powers are unwilling to collaborate with the US and its allies to choreograph the post-2014 regional security scenario. Russia and China insist that the central role of the international community in Afghanistan should be of the United Nations once the US and NATO's transition is completed in 2014.

    Evidently, they would hope for the SCO to take a lead role in the stabilization of Afghanistan. Afghanistan's expeditious admission as an SCO observer alongside Pakistan's induction as a full member conveys a loud message that regional security is best handled by the countries of the region, while extra-regional powers can act as facilitators. That is also the final message of the Istanbul conference.

    AND NOW A RUSSIAN VIEW

    Re: Def.pk op-ed: Mutual Blackmail, ETO for Afg, Pak and Ind
    A russian view

    Clinton's Dubious Plan to Save Afghanistan With a 'New Silk Road'
    By Joshua Kucera

    Nov 2 2011, 11:05 AM ET

    Most analysts seem to agree that the antiquity-era trade route is never coming back, so why is it America's new favorite idea for Central Asia?

    When foreign ministers from Afghanistan, its neighbors, and several European countries meet today in Istanbul, U.S. diplomats will be pushing them to sign on to an ambitious plan for the future of Central Asia. The "New Silk Road," as the State Department is calling their strategy, would link the infrastructure -- roads, railways, power lines -- of the 'Stans of post-Soviet Central Asia southward through Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India. At the same time, they would work with the governments to reduce legal and bureaucratic impediments to trade, like corrupt border crossings.

    The hope is that this would produce a flowering of East-West overland trade akin to the original Silk Road, by which China traded with the Middle East via Central Asian trade centers like Kashgar, Bukhara, and Samarkand. "Turkmen gas fields could help meet both Pakistan's and India's growing energy needs and provide significant transit revenues for both Afghanistan and Pakistan," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a speech outlining the vision. "Tajik cotton could be turned into Indian linens. Furniture and fruit from Afghanistan could find its way to the markets of Astana or Mumbai and beyond." (Clinton was originally scheduled to pitch her counterparts in Istanbul, but the death of her mother forced her to cancel the trip.)

    If this is the best Washington can come up with, the future for Afghanistan looks bleak

    But hope may be the only thing driving on the New Silk Road. The State Department has few good options in Afghanistan, and the U.S. doesn't want to leave (or at least wants to seem like they won't leave) a disaster behind once it starts pulling troops out in 2014. So it cast about for ideas and found the New Silk Road proposal, which had been bouncing around the post-Soviet think tank circuit in Washington since the mid-oughts.

    The plan's architect is Fred Starr, the chair of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute, a small Washington, D.C. think tank, with the backing of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. State Department officials have long been wary of the plan, initially dismissing it as unworkable. But it began to gain favor last year at U.S. Central Command, and with its commander at the time, General David Petraeus. Since Marc Grossman became President Obama's special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan earlier this year, replacing the late Richard Holbrooke, the State Department has come around to support the strategy. And Clinton has appeared to embrace it as the economic foundation of the U.S.'s post-2014 strategy for Afghanistan, promoting it in her meetings last month with the presidents of three of Afghanistan's neighbors: Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

    The origins of the plan, however, lie in geopolitics rather than economics. In the mid-oughts, there were a variety of programs by which the U.S. tried to unite South and Central Asia, including an effort to tie together the electrical grids of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan with those of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Authority for the Central Asian countries were also moved under a new State Department bureau, taking them out of the Europen bureau with the rest of the post-Soviet republics and connecting them with South Asia. What these schemes all have in common is that they attempt to weaken the economic (and as a result, political) monopoly that Russia, by dint of the centralized Soviet infrastructure, has on these countries.
    As Marlene Laruelle writes in a new book, Mapping Central Asia, which includes a great chapter on the revived metaphor of the New Silk Road: "The underlying geo-economic rationales of these Roads is to exclude Moscow from new geopolitical configurations."

    The State Department doesn't say this, of course, and it's possible (even likely) that the people now implementing the strategy don't think of it as such. Clinton even implied that there could be some sort of connection with the Russia-led Customs Union with Kazakhstan and Belarus, which is the basis for Vladimir Putin's notorious Eurasian Union.

    But this geopolitical vestige lives on in the current iteration of the New Silk Road. Look at a map of South and Central Asia -- ideally, one where you can see topography and the quality of roads -- and it's apparent that the most sensible way to ship goods from India west is not the northern route over the massive mountain passes and crumbling roads of Central Asia. It's the southern route, through Iran and Turkey. But, obviously, a U.S.-backed plan can't include Iran.

    There are also political barriers to inter-Central Asian trade. George Gavrilis, an expert on Central Asia and borders, described them in a recent piece in Foreign Affairs. Many of the countries in the region, he notes, have persistent problems with their neighbors: Pakistan with Afghanistan and India, Uzbekistan with Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. Trade agreements are fragile and susceptible to political difficulties; the border between Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan was closed for 18 months following last summer's violence in southern Kyrgyzstan. More fundamentally, a region-wide strategy would be unlikely to work because the countries that surround Afghanistan -- China, Pakistan, Iran and the 'stans -- all have very different interests and little desire to cooperate with one another. "I love the idea," Gavrilis told me when I asked about the New Silk Road. "But I just don't see how it can be implemented,"

    Notwithstanding the romance of the original Silk Road, Laruelle notes in her book, the geopolitical situation has changed quite a bit in the centuries since. "The border divisions of the 20th century have transformed these ancient trans-continental routes into cul-de-sacs of nation-states and no simple political will to declare a zone a 'crossroads' can suffice to influence the reality of being in the margins," she writes.

    And the reason the first Silk Road died out? Sea transport became much cheaper, which is still true today. So plans, she continues, "to modify in depth the status quo of global trade, three-quarters of which is carried out by sea, by replacing it with continental trade on the pretext that, once upon a time, caravans used to travel along these routes, can not be taken seriously."

    The State Department, in its public statements on the plan, highlights a handful of existing or proposed projects on which the New Silk Road could be modeled, including a free-trade agreement signed last year between Pakistan and Afghanistan and the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) natural gas pipeline. But they give little reason for optimism. The Pakistan-Afghanistan agreement was laboriously, personally brokered by Holbrooke but has yet to be implemented, and with relations between the two countries suffering, may never actually happen.

    The TAPI pipeline has been discussed since the 1990s, but as with similar schemes, insecurity in Afghanistan has scared away companies that might have the capital to build such a pipeline. With U.S. and NATO troops departing, the security situation is likely to decline even further, a problem that the plan's boosters acknowledge. "We have continued insecurity and instability in Afghanistan," Sham Bathija, senior economic adviser to President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, said at a recent conference in Washington on the strategy. "Yet we have no choice but to forge ahead."

    It's not clear what eventually convinced the State Department to embrace the New Silk Road. Starr is an eloquent proponent, and his enthusiasm can be infectious. But more than anything, the adoption of the plan speaks, as Bathija suggests, to the lack of good options for post-2014 Afghanistan. If this is the best Washington can come up with, the future for Afghanistan looks bleak.

    But that's not to say that there are no other choices. Instead of pushing an ambitious multilateral plan for Afghanistan, Gavrilis' article suggests the U.S. should work with the countries it can actually do something with, tailoring individual strategies to each particular country's interest: "Resuscitating region-wide approaches is a fool's errand that will not save Afghanistan. It is time for the international community to dump diplomatic niceties and work with those neighbors whose policies could be molded to Afghanistan's benefit."

    This lacks the romance of the Silk Road and the ambitious vision of a thriving Europe-Asia trade corridor. But it has a lot better chance of succeeding.


    Well Russians are going to need convincing and Putin who is about to make a comeback is a little more cynical about america than his medewhateva mate
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  5. sandy_3126
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    sandy_3126 PDF THINK TANK: ANALYST

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    Still what would be Russian strategic roadmap for the region.. How does Pakistan balance US if it does want a serious relationship with pakistan

  6. RaptorRX707
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    Khar off to Russia with love


    ISLAMABAD: In a development that signifies a paradigm shift in the country’s decades-old foreign policy, Pakistan is set to formally invite the Russian president to undertake a visit at a time when its relationship with the United States is faltering.

    If Dmitry Medvedev accepts the invitation, he will be the first Russian head of state to visit Islamabad.

    A foreign office official told The Express Tribune that Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar is expected to visit Moscow in the first half of February to formally extend her country’s invitation to the Russian president for a maiden trip.

    The move is part of Pakistan’s efforts to reach out to countries such as Russia in the wake of its strained ties with the US. Relations between Islamabad and Washington have continued to deteriorate since the November 26 Nato airstrikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

    That incident not only prompted authorities to shut down key supply route for the western forces stationed in Afghanistan but also initiated a review of the entire relationship with the US. An all-party and bicameral parliamentary panel has already furnished its recommendations to rewrite the terms of engagements with Washington.

    The foreign policy review includes recommendations that Pakistan must re-evaluate its relationship with Russia. The two-day envoys conference attended by ambassadors from select capitals has proposed measures to upgrade ties with Moscow in an attempt to reduce reliance on the US.

    “There was a consensus that we should take our relationship with Russia to the next level,” said a foreign office official.

    It is believed that China is also quietly pushing Pakistan and Russia to move beyond their bitter past and write a new chapter in their ties in view of the evolving regional and international situation.


    Islamabad and Moscow remained bitter enemies in the 1980s when Pakistan, along with western countries, backed the so-called holy warriors, or ‘mujahideen’, fighting Soviet troops in Afghanistan. But in recent years the two countries have attempted to move beyond that phase of their relationship.

    In an unprecedented statement following the Nato attacks on Pakistani check posts last year, Russia publicly denounced the incident, emphasising that a nation’s sovereignty should always be upheld, even when hunting ‘terrorists’.

    In May last year, President Asif Zardari undertook a historic visit to Moscow, the first official trip by any head of state from Pakistan in 37 years. Recently, a top Russian military commander also paid a rare visit to Pakistan. The visit by Colonel General Alexander Postnikov, Commander -in-Chief Russian Ground Forces, was the first by any senior military official from the former Soviet Union in recent years. The significance of the visit can be judged from the fact that the Russian general was given a guard of honour and full protocol on his arrival at the GHQ.

    Published in The Express Tribune, January 21st, 2012.

    :cheers:

    Business as usual. I think, Pakistan want to bring everyone involved to do dirty business to spoil Pakistan more after the history of Soviet Union, Afghanistan, and US. Pakistan historically easily to change its position to lap other powers.
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  7. IceCold
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    The only thorn in increasing our relation with Russia is India but like they always say there are no permanent friends just permanent Interests. If Pakistan and Russia could find similar interests like for e.g not allowing the US to maintain a strong presence in the region, we can definitely come closer and move past the bitter past. The SCO will also play an important role in bringing Russia and Pakistan closer, and of course one cannot forget the role of China in all of this. China is playing a very important role and her role be needed even more for this to happen.
  8. Screambowl
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    Screambowl SENIOR MEMBER

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    It is ok if Pakistan have relations with Russia. May be Russians can help us providing intel. from Pakistan.
  9. StormShadow
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    Wrong. The real "thorn" Russia-pak relationship is what you have done to them in the past. Infact, India is all for good relations between pak and Russia as it gives India sone leverage on pak through Russia and it also help stablize the region a bit.
  10. T-Rex
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    Pakistan should stop trying to befriend Russia because our indian friend says that Russia is not a trustworthy friend, they(the Russians) will certainly pass classified information to india. Our indian friend deserves a thank from the Pakistani members of this forum.;)
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  11. BATMAN
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    Where is the link to the article?

    I want to see who is twisting a simple news!
  12. GURU DUTT
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    well sir you are write ?????????but the thing is who serves russian interests better? india ..which buys almost 30-40% of all russian arms or Pakistan which is very unpredictable ally...US being the latest victim + has no cash!!!!!!!! & now rubbing showlders with China which less said the better????????

    my freind the hard fact is russians learned the lesson the hard way & do you think they are emotional?????????/

    i guess Russians are anything but Emotional or say predictable when your talking national interests & BIG money ...Thanks .
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  13. IceCold
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    Giving too much self importence are we? You think India can exert leverage on Pak through Russia, seriously....:disagree:
  14. BATMAN
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    @ guru dutt:

    Surprisingly, same Pakistan govt. is allowing bhartis duty free access to their market and free transit of their goods to Afghanistan.

    Where as Pakistan as a partner to US went into war with Russia and saved those trillions of dollars, which US was spending on monthly basis in its cold war.

    If Russia succeed to win partnership of Pakistan army, than it may benefit in similar way.

    Russia shall learn from bharat, who is leaving no stone un-turned to win Pakistani favors.
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  15. JAT BALWAN
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    Good work by Pakistan .... Russia is more reliable then US.

    & about India, no one can affect Indo-Russia relations by just giving access a route to anywhere...

    Pakistan is doing this for themselves,& russia off course will take this on hand just to cultivate the bitterness between Pak & US..