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Russia-Pakistan tango: Should India worry?
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Mahendra Ved | Date:16 Sep , 2015 15 Comments
Mahendra Ved
is  President, Commonwealth Journalists Association (CJA).

Two news items on a single day (September 10) in Pakistan’s newspapers need India’s attention for the growing cooperation between Pakistan and Russian Federation -one a hostile neighbor and the other, an old ally that remains, despite the rapidly changing scenario, the largest supplier of military hardware.

Russia has already begun supplies to Pakistan Mi-35 ‘Hind’ helicopters that are in Indian inventories…

Russia is in talks with Pakistan to sell Su-35 aircraft, whose fifth generation version it is committed to jointly develop with India. Russia has already begun supplies to Pakistan Mi-35 ‘Hind’ helicopters that are in Indian inventories as well.

Another reported development is of a leading Russian petroleum company, JGC Rosgeologia (Rosgeo) on September 9 signing non-binding agreements with two public sector exploration and development companies for investment cooperation. Under the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Oil and Gas Company Ltd (KPOGCL), the joint-stock company Rosgeo from Moscow will extend long-term cooperation in KP’s exploration and production (E&P) sector. The two firms would jointly bid for fresh exploration and concession blocks in upcoming transactions and acquire shareholding from existing companies.

The KPOGCL was created after the 18th Constitutional Amendment to share with Pakistan’s federal government ownership of oil and gas rights. In 1961, Pakistan set up its largest E&P firm, the Oil and Gas Development Company Ltd (OGDCL), with the financial and technical support of Soviet technical experts.

The cooperation remained almost non-existent for decades due to diplomatic reasons. In effect, Russia now returns to Pakistan’s energy arena after over 50 years.

India has in the past restrained Russia from selling Pakistan any weapons system it has supplied to India.

The joint venture would also carry out geological surveys within Pakistan, using the modern technologies and methods. The Russian company will be responsible for the technical planning and execution, arrangement of rigs and recorders, while KPOGCL will be responsible for security, logistics and transportation, gensets, earth moving equipment, cranes, tractors, camp facilities, local support manning, communication, local clearances, permits, licences, business development.

Russia wants to market to Pakistan the fourth generation of the Su-35 Super Flanker multirole fighter it is co-developing with India. But it also incorporates technology from fifth generation jets, according to details available on the Sukhoi Company’s website. It is also said to be more agile as compared to previous models.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has been quoted as saying that increasing military cooperation between Islamabad and Moscow would not negatively impact Russia’s ties with India. He pointed out that such cooperation was envisaged in the energy sector as well.

Should India take this assurance for what it is? What are the implications of Russia supplying similar, if not the same weapons systems that it shares with India in the event of a conflict? India has in the past restrained Russia from selling Pakistan any weapons system it has supplied to India. It had objected to even Ukraine selling Pakistan T-90 tanks that had Russian components.

Pakistan and Russia had signed a bilateral defence cooperation agreement aimed at strengthening military-to-military relations in November last year when Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu visited at the head of a 41-member delegation, the first in many years.

The shift in geopolitics has rapidly changed this with India getting closer to the West and Russia seeking a new market for its military hardware and much else in Pakistan.

The agreement provides for exchange of information on politico-military issues; cooperation for promoting international security; intensification of counter-terrorism and arms control activities; strengthening collaboration in various military fields, including education, medicine, history, topography, hydrography and culture; and sharing experiences in peacekeeping operations.

Last November’s pacts are supposed to be followed by another ‘technical cooperation agreement’ to pave the way for sale of defence equipment to Pakistan.  Although there is an element of hype in the September 10 reports, they indicate a move in that direction.

Not long ago, the India-Russia-China ‘axis’ was considered important for all three and for the region. The shift in geopolitics has rapidly changed this with India getting closer to the West and Russia seeking a new market for its military hardware and much else in Pakistan. And, all along, Pakistan and China are consolidating their ties that have a clear bearing on the South Asian region and, most significantly, on India. The Sino-Pak economic corridor allows the Chinese access to the Arabian Sea where Gwadar port has been developed.

These are developments too close, physically, not just strategically, to India. The moot point is whether the changes are being noted, and given the measure of importance they deserve.

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15 thoughts on “Russia-Pakistan tango: Should India worry?

  1. Russia was never a friend . IT only syphoned off indian resources for third rate defence equipment .Indian armed forces officer corp was throughly corrupted and communist thinking prevailed in all govt services and depts . Nehru was wrong in aligning with soviet union . HE SHOULD HAVE ALIGNED WITH THE WEST AMERICANS AND NATO. Perhaps indian education sanitation , health , malnutrition , infrastructure , machine tools , technology standards would have been world class by now . RUSSIA is now defunct .The only things left for india to scoop are the ARMATA AND 14 VARIANTS , T-50 , NUCLEAR SUBS AND SOME army equipment . IN next 10 years the russians will have nothing to offer except gas oil metals and fertlisers . Indian investments in these must increase manyfold so that oil gas minerals and commodities are available for her rise .

  2. Its not money matter but more of foreseeing the future.
    If a world war scenario comes, Indias allies will be Israel (Enemy of Russia), Japan (Previous Enemy of Russia), Australia ( Allies with US) and US it self.

    Whereas Russias allies will be China (Anti US) and Pakistan (Being Chinas friend).

    Seeing the future Russia is feeding its future allies.

    Whereas it is not thinking of being nutral in such scenario, as EU and India are thinking.

  3. Russia is hard pressed for hard cash and is selling what it can provided the buyer has the money. Does Pakistan have the money to buy? Doubtful.So far it has got its military supplies either free from the USA or at subsidised rates from China but Russia cannot afford that kind of deal for Pakistan.So only a limited supply is possible which India can easily counter.

  4. About time India allies with the West albeit in a manner that ensures first priority to own security over any ‘business’ deal. Indian polity has long been under-leveraging it’s own strategic position to offset all the regional powers around it – China, Pakistan, Middle-East.. The West has always been trying to reach out to India but the Indian polity is apprehensive of accepting foreign help to sort out issues with problematic neighbours – centuries of experience being the prime consultant here. Somewhere though we need to find common new ground that will allow all like minded parties to come together and resolve all issues amicably but firmly. We also need to realise that end of the day everybody needs a decent roof over their head, food to stay alive, and a happy heart to enjoy whatever we have.. Somewhere the basics are given a back seat where they should be in the front.

  5. A bad development. An old ally is turning away. The lure of liquid cash has made Russia dump an old friend, but then we must be realistic. In international relations there are never any permanent friends, but enemies abound, so Mr Modi, keep your guard up and the powder dry in the nation’s magazines.

    • What are you saying,do you have slightest understanding of international issues . How Pakistan despite having limited resources is play the game at international level . On one side it has got rock solid support of China( how it vetoed a resolution brought up by India recently)and on other hand it is using America to its advantage. India had the support of Russia now Pakistan has made inroads in this partnership also so whose backing India is to say nobody trusts America . Furthermore despite its leaders being corrupt it has kept a check on India . Can India despite being economically very very strong when compared to Pakistan afford a war with Pakistan . It is looking India eye to eye in every manner.

  6. Thales ( France) did the same thing back in late eighties & early nineties to sell same Image Intensifier based Night Vision Devices to India & Pakistan. Our T-90 tanks are equipped with Catherine Thermal Imagers from Thales France. Pakistan also claims to be using same Thermal Imager in its tanks !

  7. I do not think the balance of power will change if Russia supply’s a few helicopters to Pakistan. Do you know Pakistan is manufacturing RPG-32 with the help of Jordan.First RPG-32 ‘Nashshab’ grenade launchers were to be delivered to Jordan from Russia in 2008, and it was planned that the RPG-32 and its ammunition would be mass-produced in Jordan under license at the JADARA factory. This weapon is more dangerous than Helicopter.

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