Russia says ‘Ready to supply military equipment to Pakistan’

_Russia ready to supply ‘special military equipment’

During his visit to Pakistan, Russian FM Lavrov has held talks with PM Imran Khan, other officials

Russia on Wednesday expressed its readiness to supply special military equipment to Pakistan with the aim of strengthening the country’s counterterrorism capabilities. This development has come during Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s two-day visit to Pakistan to boost Islamabad-Moscow bilateral ties. The two countries also agreed on holding joint drills at the sea and in the mountains to enhance their military abilities.

“We stand ready to strengthen the anti-terrorist potential of Pakistan, including by supplying Pakistan with special military equipment. This serves in the interest of all states of the region,” Moscow’s top diplomat said while addressing a news briefing in Islamabad. 

Lavrov arrived in Islamabad on Tuesday following which he held formal talks with his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi as well as Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa.

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In the meeting with his Russian counterpart, FM Qureshi stressed that strengthening relations with the Russian Federation was a crucial foreign policy priority for Pakistan.

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov met Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday to hold delegation-level talks on varied topics, ranging from economic relations and the COVID-19 pandemic to the Afghanistan peace process.

According to a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office, the Premier expressed satisfaction at the steady growth in bilateral relations between Pakistan and Russia during his meeting with the Russian Foreign Minister. The statement added that two leaders discussed enhanced bilateral cooperation in the fields of energy, industrial modernization, railways and aviation. PM Imran also conveyed his congratulations to Russia on its development of the Sputnik-V COVID-19 vaccine, sharing details about Pakistan’s plans to further procure the vaccine from Moscow.

“We are interested in the commercial purchase of 5 million vaccine doses from Russia,” FM Qureshi said, during a joint press briefing with Lavrov.

Addressing the presser, Lavrov stated that Islamabad and Moscow are discussing a new protocol to facilitate the ‘Pakistan Stream’ North-South Gas Pipeline project, adding that it would commence as soon as both sides finalise a deal.

“We have overcome many of the obstacles and Pakistan wants to go ahead and is committed to the project,” Qureshi said while talking to the Gas Pipeline project.

Later, Qureshi highlighted that Russia acknowledged Pakistan’s successful campaign against extremism and terrorism as well its efforts to promote regional peace and stability, particularly, in the Afghan peace process.

Earlier, the Russian Foreign Minister visited the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi to hold meetings with Pakistan’s military leadership. During the meeting, Lavrov asserted that the ties between the two nations were on a positive trajectory and will continue to foster across various sectors. Meanwhile, the Prime Minister has extended an invitation to Russia’s President Vladimir Putin to visit Pakistan. The two leaders had last met in June 2019 during the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Bishkek.

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