News Desk |
Islamabad aims to procure weapons from Russia and develop military-to-military relations, Prime Minister Imran Khan said, adding that he is happy Pakistan is moving closer to Russia in the changing world.
“Yes, we are looking for arms from Russia, and I know our military is already in touch with the Russian military,” Khan told Sputnik News on Thursday.
Although the Pakistani military has relied on Western and Chinese suppliers for decades, its interest in Russian weapon systems has grown over the years. Recently, there have been reports that Pakistan is looking at an array of fighter jets and attack helicopters, including the Sukhoi Su-35 and Mi-35M.
Pakistani troops have also been taking part in Russian war games, while a number of their officers have been trained at military academies in Russia.
While both countries were in “opposite camps” during the Soviet war in Afghanistan (1979-1989), times have changed, and “I am very happy that we now are moving closer to Russia,” Khan said.
Before heading to Kyrgyzstan for the SCO summit, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan met Sputnik for an exclusive interview — his first to a Russian media outlet since taking office.
Complete text of interview. https://t.co/7he79rBwPe
— Pakistan Defence (@PakDefForum) June 13, 2019
The world is not what it used to be, according to the PM, and this has effects on bilateral relations.
The power centers are changing, or there are different power centers growing. And so we hope that in this new world order our relationship with Russia keeps improving.
Islamabad used to “look to the United States as the only ally and trading partner.” But now China, with its Belt and Road Initiative, is increasingly shifting into the focus of interest as well, the prime minister said.
Will Pakistan have to compete with India?
(Input by GVS NewsDesk)
Russia is offering an array of cutting-edge arms to be produced locally by India, including an advanced killer sub and a fifth-generation fighter jet. The Indian military is also about to take delivery of other weapons.
Russia is about to ship 18 Su-30MKI multirole fighters to the Indian Air Force (IAF), which is upgrading its fighter fleet. In addition, the Russian-made MiG-35 jet is poised to enter a shortlist of another tender to supply 110 lightweight fighters to the IAF.
Read more: India signs $3 bn submarine deal with Russia: reports
India has also approved a $1.93-billion deal to upgrade the older version of the T-90 main battle tank to the T-90MS variant. The upgrade package features better protection, increased mobility, and improved electronic systems.
Last but not least, India wants Russia to supply several batches of the newest S-400 air defense systems. Despite US pressure, India has remained on course in this regard, with Russia saying deliveries will start in 2020 if the first payments are made by the year’s end.