The ice is melting between Pakistan and Russia, two Cold War era foes.
Islamabad is likely to give Moscow access to its deep sea water port, Gwadar, for import and export of goods. The decision was taken following the secret visit of Alexander Bortnikov, chief of Russian Intelligence Federal Security Services and former chief of KGB, to Islamabad a week ago. It was the first time in 14 years that any senior official from Russia visited Pakistan.
During his visit, Bortnikov held several meetings with top officials of Pakistan’s intelligence and defence, including Pakistan’s spy master – ISI chief Lieutenant General Rizwan Akhter.
Officials in Islamabad revealed that the Russian had expressed the desire to be part of CPEC and use Gwadar Port for import and export.
‘Pakistan has welcomed Russia’s request to be a part of the multi-billion dollar project of CPEC,’ a senior Pakistani official told Mail Today.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) sits next to chief of Russian Intelligence Federal Security Services and former chief of KGB Alexander Bortnikov, right (file photo)
Putin earlier this year at the Kremlin
He added that a formal announcement will be made in a couple of months.
According to many experts in Pakistan, the latest development shows that Pakistan and Russia are laying foundations of improving bilateral ties after decades of sour ties during and after the Cold War era.
It is believed that geostrategic relations are rapidly changing in South Asia.
Meanwhile former Cold War rivals – India and the US – are bolstering their defence and trade ties amid concerns about China’s assertiveness in the region, particularly in the disputed South China Sea.
Likewise, Islamabad and Washington, which were allies against the erstwhile Soviet Union and collaborated in the 1980s Afghan War, are drifting away.
The development comes in the wake of Pakistan’s deteriorating relations with the US following the American forces’ raid in Abbottabad that killed Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in May 2011.
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