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Russian Special Forces in Pakistan: What is the significance of joint military exercise?

A group of Russian Federation Special Forces has arrived in Pakistan for a two-week-long joint exercise. As Pakistan has been seeking to diversify its foreign policy and relations, the joint exercise has serious strategic implications.

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In a statement released by the ISPR, it has been revealed that a contingent of “Russian Federation Special Forces” has arrived in Pakistan for a two-week-long joint exercise. The military exercise is called ‘Druzbha 5.’

Regular military exercises have been held since 2016 between Pakistan and Russia.

According to a Russian defense ministry statement, the exercise aims to strengthen military cooperation between the two countries and is being held under the framework of international military cooperation.

The drills will officially start on the 8th of this month in the ‘Tarbela’ region. The exercise, which will continue till November 21st, has 70 Russian Special Forces and officers participating in it; they are matched by an almost equal number of Pakistani forces.

“During the exercise, the military personnel of the two countries will exchange experience and work out interaction in performing tasks within the framework of training combat operations, in particular, to destroy illegal armed formations,” the Russian defense ministry said.

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Sky diving and hostage rescue operations will be highlights of the exercise, the ISPR statement said.

Russian Pakistani ties warming since 2014

In the changing world politics, Pakistan has been seeking to diversify its foreign policy and relations. Ever since Russia lifted its ban on selling Russian made military equipment to Pakistan in 2014, the two countries have grown closer together in terms of economic, diplomatic, and military ties. Farzad Ramezani Bonesh writing for Asia Times reports that this may be because Pakistan seeks to move out of the USA, China circle and expand its relations outwards to other nations.

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An example of this is the Rounds of Dialogue being held between Pakistan and the European Union. Earlier this week, Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi and High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice President of the European Commission, Mr. Josep Borrell, Co-Chaired the Fifth Round of Pakistan-European Union Strategic Dialogue, which was held virtually.

In recent years, analysts have noted that the USA has leaned towards India and has hence earned Pakistan’s diplomatic ire. Hence, Pakistan has been ‘dissatisfied’ with Washington and has thus sought to expand its relations with other nations.

Russian Economic ties with Pakistan may expand

Pakistan has seriously considered Russia’s economic potential through port development and pipeline investment, and energy transfer. Moscow also looks seriously at participating in gas pipelines and other projects related to energy and power-plant construction and electricity consumption.

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Pakistan is also seeking Russia’s extensive experience in gas pipelines and energy transfer. As the country’s population and thus demand grows, according to an interview conducted by Journalist Moeed Pirzada of CPEC Authority Chairman Asim Bajwa, it sought to expand the infrastructural projects of CPEC westwards. This would link the country to the Eurasian Economic Union and increase the traffic of goods flowing through the country’s ports, such as Gwadar. Projects such as these, Islamabad hopes, would increase the infrastructural network across the country, not only transit infrastructure but also energy, communications, etc.

GVS News Desk