• Sunday, August 19, 2018

Pakistan Finds a Friend in Russia

Discussion in 'Strategic & Foreign Affairs' started by PDFChamp, May 9, 2018.

  1. PDFChamp

    PDFChamp FULL MEMBER

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    Highlights
    • As the United States intensifies its pressure against Pakistan over the latter's continued support for the Taliban in Afghanistan, Islamabad will deepen its outreach to Moscow in a counterbalancing effort.
    • Russia and Pakistan will focus on building a security partnership based on counterterrorism cooperation to combat the threat of transnational jihadism posed by the Islamic State's Khorasan chapter in Afghanistan.
    • While the depth of Russia's connections with Pakistan's archrival, India, suggest that the Russo-Indian relationship will endure, the growing U.S.-India defense partnership will drive Moscow increasingly toward Islamabad.
    Three decades provides a lot of time for a rethink: Pakistan and Russia were the bitterest of enemies during the Cold War, but a convergence of strategic interests has brought Islamabad and the Kremlin closer than ever before. In recent months, Pakistan's foreign minister, national security adviser and army chief have journeyed to Moscow to explore a security partnership focused on combating the threat of transnational jihadism emanating from Afghanistan. And in a bid to formalize these engagements, Islamabad even expressed interest in forging a strategic partnership with Moscow on May 1.

    The developments are taking place at a time when Pakistan's relationship with the United States — a Cold War ally, no less — is steadily deteriorating due to Islamabad's continuing support for militant proxies battling NATO-backed forces in Afghanistan. And as Washington puts greater pressure on Islamabad due to its links to militant networks, Pakistan will intensify its own efforts to strengthen its regional partnership with countries like Russia — making it even less likely that it will abandon its militant proxy strategy in Afghanistan.

    Changing Foes
    The historical antagonism between Pakistan and Russia is tied to the role of great power politics and the fate of Afghanistan. In 1979, the Soviet Union invaded the landlocked country to shore up the tottering Marxist regime in Kabul. That incursion, however, created an opportunity for the United States to open another proxy front against Moscow as part of its wider anti-communist struggle across Asia. Because of its 2,410-kilometer (1,510-mile) border with Afghanistan, Pakistan became a frontline state toward the end of the Cold War; the CIA oversaw a massive covert operation campaign in tandem with Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to support the anti-Soviet movement sweeping across the Afghan countryside. From Pakistan's perspective, however, the Soviet-Afghan War simply represented Moscow's latest attempt to reach warm waters through Afghanistan to the Arabian Sea. A century earlier, the British Empire — then ruling over modern-day Pakistan, the critical northwestern approach to the Indian jewel in the British crown — had sought to fend off czarist Russia's southward advance across the Central Asian steppe by transforming Afghanistan into a buffer state.

    Today, times have changed. Now, the United States is the great power at war in Afghanistan — where it is suffering from the effects of the very jihadist proxy strategy it helped Islamabad perfect. For Islamabad, the need to ensure a friendly regime in Kabul and secure its disputed western border with Afghanistan is part of its grand strategy to ensure internal unity in the face of external aggression. Pakistan need look no further than 1971 to observe the consequences of its failure to maintain this grand strategy. In that year, India's military intervened on behalf of the Bengali independence movement, leading to eastern Pakistan attaining statehood as Bangladesh. Pakistan has accordingly supported the Taliban as part of its strategy, resulting in a sharply deteriorating relationship with the United States, which is struggling to advance negotiations with the militant group to finally end 40 years of conflict in the country. Washington has severely restricted the amount of aid it doles out to the South Asian country, extending a suspension of $1.9 billion in aid in January.

    Calling on the Kremlin

    At the same time, the United States has set its sights on a much bigger challenge: addressing China, which happens to be Pakistan's strongest ally. And because Beijing's rise equally worries New Delhi, the United States and India have begun cultivating a defense-oriented partnership. This burgeoning Indo-American cooperation is naturally a cause for concern for Russia, which has shared deep historical links with India since the Cold War.

    Thus, as intensifying U.S. pressure compels Pakistan to reach out to Russia, the Kremlin is providing a receptive audience. For Islamabad, the outreach is part of a well-honed strategy. As a middle-ranking power with limited global and economic clout, Pakistan has an interest in developing a closer relationship with a great power like Russia, whose seat on the U.N. Security Council and ability to offer arms, investment and energy could help the former diversify its energy supplies while bolstering its clout in multilateral organizations such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (the latter of which Islamabad is trying to join with Moscow's backing).
    And in forging links with Islamabad, Moscow not only seeks to counterbalance the Indo-American partnership but also recognizes the pivotal role Pakistan will play in the future of Afghanistan due to its support for the Taliban. Because the organization will likely feature in any power-sharing agreement that ends active hostilities, Moscow wishes to cultivate links with the group – an area in which Islamabad can be of assistance. Already, some have accused Moscow of supporting the Taliban by shipping fuel tankers across Uzbekistan's Hairatan border crossing for the group to resell, thereby earning the militants $2.5 million per month. Pakistan also shares Russia's deep concern about transnational militant groups such as the Islamic State. (Although the Taliban is an Islamist organization, its ideological horizons are largely limited to Afghanistan). In recent years, the Islamic State has staged attacks in Pakistan, and it also threatens to spill over into Central Asia, a strategically important buffer area for Russia on its southern flank. Accordingly, Moscow and Islamabad have been pursuing counterterrorism cooperation as part of Russia's broader efforts on the front with Central Asian states and China.

    The budding Russian-Pakistani relationship has been years in the making. Following the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, Pakistan's then-President Pervez Musharraf visited Moscow in 2003 while Russia's then-Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov returned the favor four years later. The relationship, however, truly started to gain traction in 2014 — the year the United States incidentally completed the NATO drawdown in Afghanistan. During that year, Russia lifted an arms embargo against Pakistan, paving the way for the two countries to sign a defense agreement that included a $153 million deal to sell Mi-35M attack helicopters, as well as an agreement to directly buy the Klimov RD-93 engine from Russia for use in its domestically manufactured JF-17 fighter jet. Moscow also inked a deal with Islamabad to construct the $2 billion North-South pipeline linking Karachi and Lahore at a time when U.S. sanctions against Russia over its actions in Ukraine forced the Kremlin to explore other energy export markets. Russia and its new South Asian partner have since inked other energy deals, as Gazprom and Pakistan's Oil and Gas Development Company signed a joint venture deal in July 2017 to aid in exploration and development.

    In 2016, Russia and Pakistan conducted Druzhba, the pair's first joint military drills, in spite of anger from India, which registered its unease at the war games in the wake of an attack on the Uri army base in Indian-controlled Kashmir that it blamed on Pakistani militants. At the end of that year, Moscow and Beijing also hosted a trilateral summit on Afghanistan with Islamabad, the first of four international conferences involving Russia.

    Farewell India?
    But the Kremlin's overtures to Islamabad are not harbingers of any fundamental breach in its links with New Delhi. India is too big a country and too important an arms customer for Russia to ignore — a reality that will also limit the scope of Russia's arms sales to Pakistan, as New Delhi has no desire to see its archenemy incorporate the same weapons systems it relies upon, such as the T-90 tank. Still, India's protestations are unlikely to preclude Moscow from finding at least some opportunity to sell weapons to Islamabad. Tellingly, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov elected to highlight such sales to Pakistan in January during the Raisina Dialogue event — India's most important foreign policy conference — in New Delhi. The message was not lost on New Delhi.

    As U.S. President Donald Trump takes an ever-harder line against Islamabad and the threat from groups like the Islamic State grows, Pakistan is cementing its ties with its powerful neighbor to the north. For Moscow, good ties with Islamabad present an opportunity to counter New Delhi's new understanding with Washington. And with the former foes both getting something out of the relationship, it's a newfound partnership that might be more than just temporary.

    https://worldview.stratfor.com/article/pakistan-finds-friend-russia


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    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2018
  2. Sinnerman108

    Sinnerman108 SENIOR MEMBER

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    AS soon as Russia gets more access to trade, the partnership will grow.

    India knows very well, that they are on a slippery slope, they understand how "Firm" american
    friendship can be; india is only exploiting the situation for best gains eventually they know very well
    they have to come back.
     
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  3. Adonis

    Adonis FULL MEMBER

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    My take...India knows how to play it's cards well. They are no one's friend but everyone's friends. They have not gone away from Russia but are aligning partnerships based on their current needs...(so is done by every smart country). They have friendly ties with Muslim countries, China, US,Israel, Russia at the same time....it's rare to see such examples else in the world.
     
  4. Sinnerman108

    Sinnerman108 SENIOR MEMBER

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    Yes, that is correct.
    But having a alliance with Uncle Sam is unlike all other.
    This particular embrace will be led by Uncle Sam,

    Interesting how long will India allowed to dance perfection as they have done.
     
  5. kabooter_maila

    kabooter_maila FULL MEMBER

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    Analyzing the Pak-Russia relations without contextual preview of regional chord is a faulty approach in any way. The writer seems to be incapable of comprehending all factors at play in the backdrop of strengthening Pak-Russia relationship. Viewing these relations through the prism of bilateral relations between Russia and India would, of course, result in the usual if-else-then confusions. A view at the larger context would result in a much better and clearer picture.

    Russia is a major player in this part of the world. China is even a bigger global player in terms of economic strength, political clout, and military capabilities (# of programs and work force size engaged in R&D for strategically vital future technologies). The two neighbors are improving their understanding of a shared global order continuously. So Russian gestures towards Pakistan have been influenced by that understanding. The way uncle Sam is getting disturbed by OBOR, especially CPEC, is indicative of something much deeper at play than what is obvious to a common observer. If Russia joins CPEC/OBOR, the resulting implications would easily out-weigh any Indo-Russian alliance, if it existed at all. Russians will not get huge military sales orders from Pakistan. Nor Pak will be able to offer much in terms of military alliance with Russia. But as a pivotal part of a much larger China-Russia block, Pakistan is expected to act as an enabler factor that Russians would see strategically much more beneficial for them in the long run than Indian sales orders for Russian military equipment, which are on the decline in any case.

    No one is a friend or foe of any one else by itself. It's the national interests that make them friends or turn them into foes. Every nation knows that. That has nothing to do with being more or less clever.
     
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  6. Neptune_

    Neptune_ FULL MEMBER

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    Russia can be a less powerful state compared to USA but they r way more trustworthy. The chances of them backstabbing their friends is comparatively lesser.
     
  7. !eon

    !eon SENIOR MEMBER

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    Search how Israel destroyed Iraqi nuclear reactor, despite Iraq had Russian AA Missile systems deployed.
    You will find how trustworthy they are.
     
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  8. SOUTHie

    SOUTHie SENIOR MEMBER

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    The world is multipolar. Russia knows it, US knows it. India has no special relationship with anyone. India heavily relied on Russian technology when it comes to weapon and US when it comes to business. We are trying to balance it. And we will balance it.
     
  9. Sinnerman108

    Sinnerman108 SENIOR MEMBER

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    I know what you are saying.
    and I know India will try to balance it.
    All what I am saying is that the balancing will NOT be easy.
    Uncle Sam is a much bigger player of this game.
     
  10. Adonis

    Adonis FULL MEMBER

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    ..I was replying to the someone who said, Russia is going away from India.......what you said is a Known Fact. Besides, may I say that between India and Pakistan, national interests of yours with other countries , have changed more frequently and drastically than India...don't you think so
     
  11. SOUTHie

    SOUTHie SENIOR MEMBER

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    Wait and watch. :-)
     
  12. Attila the Hun

    Attila the Hun SENIOR MEMBER

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    :lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol:
     
  13. kabooter_maila

    kabooter_maila FULL MEMBER

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    Sure, it's obvious but some players are in the business of changing perceptions, giving twists to realities, and misguiding masses. It's a whole science now.

    "... have changed more frequently and drastically than India..."
    What's the basis for that claim? Core national interests of any nation seldom change. It's the strategic environment/situation that keep changing continuously. Nations strive for safeguarding these core national interests using different strategies. So strategies do change as required or dictated by the environment.

    In Pakistan's context, we had an defecto alliance with the US for over 70 years that started for the sake of our survival (as a nation). Sure, many ups and downs in this relationship. That's what you are calling changing national interests?

    Now consider on why these ups and down did occur? Because we tried to get a hold on technologies that we thought were vital for our survival in the long run. US considered that against it national interest. But we did succeed in achieving our goals. We are again at the crossroads though.
     
  14. somebozo

    somebozo ELITE MEMBER

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    You need to grow out of this cold war mentality..Russian gave up Libiya and Syria...they are bound by international law to not become sponsors of terrorist regimes...

    Russia has never provided its top of the line missile defense system to any one..either Iran or Syria..both have the S300 version which can be easily countered..Israel has launched missiles at Iran today...
     
  15. !eon

    !eon SENIOR MEMBER

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    One has to know something before discussing it. Kindly check out why Israel was able to destroy Iraqi nuclear facility.