New Delhi: A day after his visit to India, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov assured Pakistan that it was ready to supply “special military equipment” to strengthen Islamabad’s counter-terror capabilities and agreed to hold additional joint military exercises.
Lavrov arrived in Islamabad on Tuesday afternoon after a short visit to India. He was greeted by Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on arrival at the airport. Lavrov had previously visited Pakistan in 2012.
On Wednesday, the Russian foreign minister went to the Army headquarters in Rawalpindi to “call on” the Pakistani army chief, Qamar Javed Bajwa.
H.E Mr Sergey Lavrov, Foreign Minister of Russia called on General Qamar Javed Bajwa, COAS at GHQ, today. During the meeting, matters of mutual interest including enhanced defence & security cooperation, regional security, particularly Afghan Peace Process were discussed. (1/4) pic.twitter.com/uQeyFzAJz5
— DG ISPR (@OfficialDGISPR) April 7, 2021
As per the Inter-Services public relations statement, the Pakistani army chief stated that he “reciprocated” Russia’s desire for bilateral military cooperation.
He also added that Pakistan welcomed all initiatives for peace in Afghanistan. “We have no hostile designs towards any country and will keep on working towards a cooperative regional framework based on sovereign equality and mutual progress, COAS concluded,” said the ISPR press note.
Earlier in the day, Lavrov had held formal delegation-level talks with Qureshi at the foreign ministry, followed by a press conference.
In his opening remarks, Lavrov said, “We stand ready to strengthen the anti-terrorist potential of Pakistan, including by supplying Pakistan with special military equipment”. He didn’t elaborate further on the equipment, but Russia had previously supplied Mi35 helicopters to Pakistan.
He added that both countries have also agreed to hold additional joint exercises in the mountains and sea “to combat terrorism and piracy”.
Pakistan and Russia have already held five editions of their joint military drill, Druzbha, which was first held in 2016.
According to Dawn, Pakistan foreign minister said that Pakistan had “looked at our cooperation in defence and counterterrorism and we feel that we have within our framework of dialogue [involving] strategic stability and counterterrorism opportunities of interaction and we feel we can help each other”.
“I am grateful to the foreign minister that he has acknowledged the progress Pakistan has made in defeating and reversing terrorism and extremism and they’re more than happy to further build our capacity on that,” he said.
After Lavrov met with Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan, the official communique said that there was an affirmation to expeditiously conclude the requisite legal process for the ‘Pakistan Stream’ (North-South) Gas Pipeline project and commence the work as early as possible” was also reaffirmed, it said.
Foreign Minister of Russia, Sergey Lavrov called on Prime Minister Imran Khan today. 🇵🇰🇷🇺
— Government of Pakistan (@GovtofPakistan) April 7, 2021