In view of the Iran-China agreement, the growing proximity between Beijing and Moscow, and the recent developments in the region, the Russian Foreign Minister’s visit to Pakistan is a matter of special significance. It is the first visit by a Russian foreign minister to Pakistan in nine years. There is a lot of talk in the national and international media that Pakistan’s focus is now on the East. This process of looking towards the East is positive for Pakistan. Pakistan, Iran, Russia, China, Turkey and Central Asian countries together form a new political bloc. Russia, on the other hand, has made a concerted effort to reshape and expand relations with Pakistan. This development could be a game-changer for both Pakistan and South Asia. Critical strategic dynamics and policy changes in South Asia could change the perceptions that drove Pakistan into an anti-Russian camp during the Cold War between Russia and the United States.
There is no denying the fact that relations between Pakistan and Russia have been strained for a long time. India has always used these relations against Pakistan. Russia was a superpower compared to the United States in the case of the Soviet Union, so India stayed close to it but when the United States through Pakistan smashed the Soviet Union in the background, India stepped up its efforts to move to the US camp. India is a big market, so the United States also wants good relations with India. India extended a hand to the United States for relations, then the United States welcomed it at the expense of Pakistan since thenthe United States in relations with Pakistan has grown cold.
While India has made it possible to pursue its interests by getting closer to the United States, it has not spared any effort to fill the ears of the United States against Pakistan. This has led to a breakdown in the warmth of Pakistan-US relations. The United States cut off aid to Pakistan and began to make unreasonable demands on Do more. Pakistan has been threatened to teach a lesson in the Trump era while on this occasion, Pakistan has patiently continued its efforts to keep the relations and the situation normal, which is why the US-Taliban peace agreement was signed, but India and the Afghan administration are trying their best to sabotage this agreement. This peace agreement is still in force, but its future is in question.
At present, in view of the changing situation in the region, the United States has also come closer to India as it needed a parasitic country in the region to compete with China. At the behest of the United States, India continues to be at loggerheads with China and other neighbors. On the other hand, Russia’s distance from India has become a major reason for Russia’s closeness to Pakistan. Russia and Pakistan have gradually come so close that the Russian Foreign Minister is on a long visit to Pakistan. Earlier, Russian forces had conducted exercises in Pakistan now Russia is also becoming part of the CPEC. It had a dream to reach the hot waters which Pakistan had thwarted by force, but now an atmosphere of friendship and reconciliation, Pakistan is welcoming Russia to use the port of Gwadar.
Russia’s announcement to provide Pakistan with modern special weapons in the fight against terrorism in response to Pakistan’s goodwill message is a significant development as Pakistan has long had its weapons needs from the United States and Western countries. Since then, it has stepped into the field of automatic armaments with the cooperation of China and is rapidly moving towards self-sufficiency. There was almost no cooperation with Russia in this area but for the past few years,the procurement of modern weapons including helicopters has progressed while India under US auspices, is stockpiling arms in the region. Pakistan has relied on China’s cooperation to compete with India. If Russia moves forward to meet Pakistan’s needs for modern weapons, it will be a great help in maintaining the balance of power in the region.
The warmth in Pakistan-Russia relations will make a significant difference in the regionbut the US-India alliance could pose further threats to peace, especially in South Asia. To address this, the major powers and countries of the region must unite, which has become a natural environment. For lasting peace in the region, a defense bloc comprising China, Russia, Pakistan, Iran and Turkey should be formed which may include Malaysia and Saudi Arabia as the opportunity arises. Pakistan is one of the most important countries in the region yet Pakistan’s foreign policy is no longer the rarity and breadth that its role demands. Unlike in the past, Pakistan’s changing foreign policy is important as is the relationship with distant friends from neighboring countries far more important which can improve the situation in the region and make Pakistan’s role more prominent and important.