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Russia-Pakistan: New vistas of cooperation

Discussion in 'Strategic & Foreign Affairs' started by Dubious, Jun 12, 2018.

  1. Dubious

    Dubious ELITE MEMBER

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    Russia-Pakistan: New vistas of cooperation
    By News Desk -
    June 12, 2018

    Commemorating 70th anniversary of bilateral relations

    Igor Morgulov

    On May 1, 2018 the Russian Federation and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan celebrate a significant date: 70 years ago diplomatic relations between our States were established on that day. Over the past decades our bilateral ties have experienced ups and downs. Certain events in Afghanistan at the end of the 1970s-1980s have left a negative mark on them. However, even during the most difficult times our country provided economic assistance to Pakistan, promoted development of its oil and gas industry and construction of energy facilities, supplied agricultural machinery. The Karachi Steel Mills was constructed with the help of the USSR at the beginning of the 1980s. It still remains the largest industrial plant in Pakistan and is rightly a symbol of our friendship. In 1980 the Guddu thermal power plant was put into operation. Constructed with the participation of Soviet specialists it was at that time the largest thermal power station in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
    In December 1991 Pakistan was one of the first countries to recognize the Russian Federation as the legal successor of the Soviet Union. Since the early 2000s our bilateral relations have been developing dynamically in an incremental manner. Russia regards Pakistan as a promising partner, with whom we build up a long-term multicultural cooperation including for the benefit of strengthening the stability in South Asia and beyond. It is particularly important that relations between Russia and Pakistan have their own value and are not subject to changes of the situation in the international arena.
    In recent years, bilateral political dialogue has been intensified. In 2017 our leaders held two meetings – on the sidelines of the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Astana in June and on the sidelines of the SCO Heads of State Council meeting in Sochi. The results of these contacts at the summit level proved the mutual interest of the both sides in enhancing multidimensional cooperation. Practical steps to develop such a cooperation were discussed during the working visit of Mr Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the 2 Islamic Republic of Pakistan, to Moscow this February.
    Inter-parliamentary contacts are an important element of interaction between Russia and Pakistan. A landmark event was the visit of Mr Vyacheslav V Volodin, Chairman of the State Duma of the Russian Federation to Pakistan, where he took part in the Conference of the Speakers of parliaments of Russia, Pakistan, China, Afghanistan, Iran and Turkey on security issues and counter terrorism and held negotiations with the leadership of Pakistan.
    We maintain dialogue with our Pakistani partners on a wide range of issues of regional and international agenda through relevant consultative mechanisms between the Foreign Ministries. Among these issues are: counter terrorism, strategic stability, situation in Afghanistan and Central Asia. There is an active interaction between other ministries and agencies of both countries.
    The potential of our partnership was significantly advanced when Islamabad became a full-fledged member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in June 2017. We are glad that Pakistan is actively engaging in the practical work of the Organisation. We count upon support by Islamabad of the plans to create a universal Centre on countering new challenges and threats on the basis of the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure. This will enable member states to improve coordination of professional efforts and to raise efficiency of use of relevant resources.
    Our States cooperate on multilateral platforms, first of all in the UN and its specialised agencies. Moscow and Islamabad are united by the aspiration for a multi-polar world order, respect for international law, denial of attempts of interference in domestic affairs of sovereign states including those under humanitarian pretext. We value the support that Pakistan gives to such Russian priorities in the UN as international information security, transparency and confidence-building measures in outer space and combat against glorification of Nazism.
    We stand for deepening the coordination of efforts of the international community on the Afghan track. Deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan, the 3 rise of the terrorist and drugs threats coming from this country directly affect both Russia and Pakistan. Our countries hold the same view that Afghanistan should become a peaceful state, free of terrorism and drug-related crime.
    As the first priority task in this context we consider the earliest start of the national reconciliation process which modalities must be determined by Afghans themselves. We are confident that the principle of fair and equal partnership, which has been laid in the foundation of the Moscow format of consultations on Afghanistan and the SCO-Afghanistan Contact group, takes into account interests of all regional actors and perfectly meets the goal of launching the intra-Afghan dialogue.
    Countering new challenges and threats, first of all international terrorism, is the priority sphere of bilateral cooperation. Here in Russia we are aware of heavy losses of Pakistan in the struggle against this global evil. From 2001 about 60 thousands of Pakistanis, including 10 thousands of military personnel and law- enforcement officers, have been killed by terrorists. We support the efforts of Islamabad aimed at eradicating hotbeds of terrorism and religious extremism in the territory of Pakistan including the Pashtun tribal areas adjacent to Afghanistan.
    On our part, we will continue to give practical assistance for strengthening the antiterrorist potential of Pakistan and we are convinced that it meets interests of other regional countries. Our bilateral military and technical cooperation is aimed at increasing military capacity of the Pakistani security structures combating terrorists. In this very context we should view the contract on the supply of Russian military transport helicopters MI-35 M to Pakistan, which is now being implemented. We proceed from the assumption that these machines will be useful in conducting counter-terrorism operations.
    We will continue well-proven practice of holding joint tactical exercise ‘Druzhba’ (Friendship) on coordination of counter-terrorism operations in mountain area. The first round of such exercise took place in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa in 2016, and the second in Karachay-Cherkessia region of Russia in 2017.
    We are building up cooperation in anti narcotics sphere. Both the Ministry of 4 Internal Affairs of Russia and the Anti Narcotics Force of Pakistan (the ANF) have developed information sharing on issues of countering drug trafficking, prevention of illicit trafficking and use of drugs as well as relevant statistics and expertise. We have accumulated best practices in training of specialists: dozens of Pakistani ANF officers have undergone training in Russia at the expense of federal budgetary funds.
    The economic component of Russian-Pakistani relations does not correspond to the existing potential. Certainly, efforts are needed to increase mutual trade, which is now around 540 million US dollars, as well as to diversify its structure and to promote investment projects in the partner country. Leaders of both our countries have set the goal to force the development of trade and economic ties, which should be raised to a new level. In this context, we have high expectations of the Russian- Pakistani Intergovernmental Commission (the IGC) on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation, within the framework of which specific projects of business partnerships are being considered. The fifth meeting of the IGC took place in Moscow in November 2017 under the co-chairmanship of Mr Denis V Manturov, Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation, and Eng. Khurram Dastgir Khan, Minister of Defence of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The most important now is to ensure implementation of the understanding that we have reached. There is a tremendous scope for cooperation in energy sector, which has been established in Pakistan with the help of Soviet specialists. The flagship project – construction in accordance with the intergovernmental agreement of 2015 of the 1100 km long North-South gas pipeline with a capacity of 12,4 billion cubic meters a year which will connect the LNG terminals in Karachi and Lahore.
    The interested economic operators of the two countries also study other joint projects. Among them we can name supply of the Russian liquefied natural gas to Pakistan as well as construction of the Iran-Pakistan-India sea pipeline. Russian companies are also ready to promote modernization of the Pakistani energy sector, including reconstruction of the existing thermal power plants and construction of 5 new ones.
    The continuing strengthening of interregional communications is truly pleasing. We have established steady contacts between the Republic of Tatarstan and the province of Punjab – which was in many respects promoted by a visit of Mr Rustam N Minnikhanov, President of Tatarstan, to Pakistan in March 2017. In October of the same year the agreement on cooperation between the governments of St Petersburg and the province of Sindh was signed.
    Now "the road map" on implementation of this document is being developed. Cultural and humanitarian relations are being consistently strengthened. We welcome interest of the Pakistani youth to study in the Russian higher education institutions. According to the agreement reached at the top-level the number of state grants provided to citizens of Pakistan for training in Russia will be increased gradually. We support the activity of the Pakistani Association of graduates of the Soviet and Russian higher education institutions that unites several thousands of people. In 2017 a member of the Association Dr. Najam Ul Sahar Batt, the author of brilliant translations of the Russian classical literature in Urdu, was awarded by the Pushkin medal for his important personal contribution to promoting and advancing Russian language and culture abroad. Russia and Pakistan have all reasons to look into the future of the partnership with optimism. Relations between our States are based on the strong base of equality, mutual trust, respect for international law, coincidence or proximity of approaches to topical issues of the global and regional agenda.

    —The writer is Deputy Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation.


    https://pakobserver.net/russia-pakistan-new-vistas-of-cooperation/
     
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  2. Dubious

    Dubious ELITE MEMBER

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    National interests and geopolitical factors in Russia-Pakistan Relations

    Leonid Savin
    -
    June 12, 2018
    [​IMG]


    Leonid Savin |

    Presentation text read at the international conference “The Seventy-year Jubilee of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between the USSR/Russia and Pakistan”, Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of Oriental Studies, 21 May 2018.

    First, when examining our two states (Russia and Pakistan) in the current geopolitical situation, we must turn our attention towards concepts such as context and national interests.

    The term ‘context’ has two meanings when translated from Latin:
    1. That which surrounds us (the everyday, geographical meaning)
    2. That which is intertwined together.
    It is clear that seeing as Russia and Pakistan are located on the Eurasian continent, they are culturally, historically and politically intertwined, which is why we are ‘fated’ to continuous neighbor-ship and consequently, we must cooperate with each other in various different areas.

    What are ‘national interests’? Even the US, who consistently defend their national interests, do not have a general consensus about what they are. It is widely accepted that this concept has three elements:
    • All-national interests (apart from the fact that the concept of the ‘all-national’ is related to the ‘common interests’ of a nation’s citizens, which are based on common sense, this concept is fairly abstract)
    • The interests of the president
    • The interests of the government
    There are two main camps that determine national interests: one which uses a hypothetical approach, and one which provides a definition through enumeration. The first camp is tied to the theories of realism and liberalism of international relations while the seconds includes defined categories of things in the concept of ‘national interests;’ that is to say, universal enumeration includes the survival of citizens, the support of domestic norms, the economy etc., or in other words, factors that are specific to a certain nation.

    Two more options flow forth from this: national interests are either determined by a country’s leadership (and private citizens through a similar process) or inductively, as the preference of politicians in decision-making positions.

    The process of the unification of efforts in the Eurasian space is not just related to formal membership in the EAEU but also with the creation of a free-trade zone. I believe that these questions must also be discussed with the Pakistani side.

    In summary, national interest is a kind of a social construct. Moreover,, it can change with time. The example of the Soviet Union, Russia, and Pakistan is telling. After the USSR had collapsed, Russia changed its ideology and suddenly became a democratic state. When the position of the minister of foreign affairs was taken by Andrei Kozyrev, we were oriented entirely towards the US. Now, we see this as a highly negative experience.

    Let us examine a similar experience from Pakistan: under the government of Mohammed Ayub Khan or Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the external vector of Pakistani policy changed slightly. It was friendlier towards the USSR. Now, too, this is seen as a positive phenomenon in Russia. Nonetheless, we can note, that sometimes, national interests (despite an ideological difference or confrontation) can coincide. For example, if we examine Pakistan’s independence and take into consideration our experience with the Marxist paradigm, we would rather have a positive opinion on this event, seeing as Pakistan liberated itself from Britain’s colonial pressure and finally, acquired a path to independence.

    We can also examine all of this in the context of geopolitics and even if we reject the ideas of the Anglo-Saxon authors, who first formulated several important concepts (Russia as the Eurasian Heartland, the territory which contains the geographical axis of history, and Pakistan as a coastal zone or Rimland) as the Soviet school did, which saw geopolitics as a bourgeois science, little will change in practice. This is because Russia is (geographically speaking) an enormous terrestrial mass as well as a strong political force that all states (in Eurasia as well as those on other continents) have to deal with.

    Pakistan will also be seen as a state with an outlet towards the Indian Ocean and a certain demographic situation, as well as scientific, cultural, and political potential. I think that in this respect, we are simply fated to cooperation. In addition to this, if we follow a formulation by the famous German legal scholar, Carl Schmitt, about all politics being built on the ‘Friend-Enemy’ distinction (and these are not moral categories), our cooperation and mutual relations entirely fit into this logical structure.

    Two more options flow forth from this: national interests are either determined by a country’s leadership (and private citizens through a similar process), or inductively, as the preference of politicians in decision-making positions.

    Even if we were once enemies in the Soviet narrative (as there was a civil war in Afghanistan that we participated in and possibly made mistakes during it), the situation has undoubtedly changed and both of our states are interested in the normalization of the chronic instability that is wracking Afghanistan. We can add two more important moments: first, the polyethnic component – Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Russia are polyethnic states.

    Here in Russia, we have good experience with managing inter-ethnic processes – experience that can be transferred to Afghanistan as well as Pakistan. The second is the concept of borders. Of course, the term ‘natural borders’ itself is fairly relative, only island states can truly speak of natural borders. Moreover, the ‘Durand Line’ that separates Afghanistan and Pakistan is conditional: it was drawn by the British colonial government and, naturally, several representatives of Afghan political groups do not wish to recognize it.

    Paradoxical as it may be, it is a fact that Russia suffers from the same problems. We have an officially recognized border with Ukraine; however, we nonetheless acknowledge part of the citizens of that country as our compatriots. We have a strategy that clearly indicates that Russia must and will continue to support its compatriots. The Ukrainian conflict (which is tied to western interests and the organization of the 2014 political coup) was calculated in such a way that Russia would find itself in a new geopolitical trap and thus, has to follow the conditions that the West would dictate.

    But this did not happen: Ukraine (as Afghanistan is to Pakistan) is our painful subject. Nonetheless, we can take stock of the experience and cooperation between our states to solve these problems. Additonally, the Syrian subject is also fairly telling as the Pakistani position on our military presence and attempts to normalize that country’s political processes is welcomed in Russia.

    The next question is, of course, that of mutual relations in the area of economics and politics. We must specifically note the SCO and BRICS summits in Ufa in 2015 when the decision about Pakistan’s entry in the former organization was practically made. The second important decision was the idea of the linking of the Eurasian Economic Union and the Chinese ‘One Belt – One Road’ project. In this area, about 200 projects are already in the development stage. It is very important to use the Pakistani Chinese economic corridor, as it fully corresponds to the interests of all three partners (Pakistan, China, and Russia).

    What is more, if we follow the logic of our old ideas and traditions, this will give Russia the opportunity to have an exit towards a warm sea, an opportunity that was dreamed of by many rulers of the Russian state as far back as the days of the Russian Empire (there were also discussion on this subject in the USSR). The opportunity for an exit towards a warm sea can only be secured for us by two states: Pakistan and Iran. In the former’s case, there are already discussions about the creation of ferry link through the Caspian Sea and a railway junction through Azerbaijan. However, as the Pakistani transport corridor has already been created with the help of Chinese investment and technology, it opens up additional possibilities and perspectives.

    The first camp is tied to the theories of realism and liberalism of international relations while the seconds includes defined categories of things in the concept of ‘national interests;’ that is to say, universal enumeration includes the survival of citizens.

    In this respect, we must work more actively with small and medium businesses, and not just with large enterprises (several projects that the government has worked on have already been noted). As the Americans are wont to say, this is tracks II diplomacy – when the active involvement of civilians from very different social strata, often through the activities of non-governmental organizations, leads to a better understanding of the cultures of two states.

    This truly speeds up political and economic cooperation and lays strategic foundations for cooperation many years in advance. We can suppose, that in the near future, relations between Pakistan and the United States will cool, which is also related to the change in course of the Indian government towards more fruitful cooperation with Washington and New Delhi’s refusal to buy Russian products – a move which, on the other hand, presents Russia with an opportunity to cooperate more closely with Pakistan.

    The process of the unification of efforts in the Eurasian space is not just related to formal membership in the EAEU but also with the creation of a free-trade zone. I believe that these questions must also be discussed with the Pakistani side. We have recently signed a corresponding agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran; a similar agreement must be signed with Pakistan.

    Leonid Savin is Director of the Foundation for monitoring and forecasting of development of the cultural territorial spaces; Editor-in-Chief of the “Geopoliticа.ru” internet portal; Senior Expert of the Center of Geopolitical Research (Russian think-tank established in 2000); Head of Administration of the International social movement “Eurasian Movement”, editor-in-chief of the “Journal of Eurasian Affairs” magazine issued by this NGO; Expert of the Strategic Culture Foundation. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.

    https://www.globalvillagespace.com/...litical-factors-in-russia-pakistan-relations/
     
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  3. Mahmood-ur-Rehman

    Mahmood-ur-Rehman FULL MEMBER

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    A strong base to build our relation with Russia
     
  4. Canuck786

    Canuck786 FULL MEMBER

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    Let bygones be bygones and start afresh! Very positive articles.
     
  5. AsianUnion

    AsianUnion SENIOR MEMBER

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    Very interesting, new avenues, new
    Projects, new oppurtunities , seems by nature Russia and Pakistan are becoming best of friends and slowly but surely coming closer to each other.