Why India must be wary of Russia's engagement with Pakistan

New Delhi, Delhi, IndiaEdited By: Palki SharmaUpdated: Jun 25, 2020, 07:20 AM IST


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To be precise, Pakistan wants to shape the Russia-China-Pakistan axis.

Russia has long supported India’s ascension to having a permanent seat in a reformed UN Security Council. But of late, Moscow's growing closeness to Islamabad is becoming a cause of worry for New Delhi.

India cannot ignore Russia's growing support to Pakistan.

In the last six years, a lot has changed between Russia and Pakistan, and leaving behind the cold war hostilities, both sides have expanded their relationship. 

Russia used to have a strict embargo on weapon sales to Pakistan. But it was lifted in 2014 -- paving the way for Russian weapons to fall into the hands of the Pakistani army. 

Islamabad also wants to rapidly expand its ties with Moscow, and it can count on Beijing's support to win it over.

According to a report, Pakistan plans to link the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) with the Eurasian Economic Union.

This is an alliance between Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. There is also a plan to expand the capacity of the Gwadar port.

Russia is reportedly ready for deals with Pakistan, and is keen on participating in gas pipelines, electricity and other energy projects.

In 2019, Russia had announced plans to invest $14 billion in Pakistan's energy sector.

Also, what keeps Russia and Pakistan together is Afghanistan. Islamabad has been playing broker between the Taliban and world powers.

Russia, which is party to the Afghanistan conflict, actively engages with Islamabad.

In fact, earlier this month, Pakistan participated in consultations with China, the United States and Russia. It was a video conference to speed up the intra-Afghan talks.

Russian news agency Tass carried a press release about the virtual meeting.

To be precise, Pakistan wants to shape the Russia-China-Pakistan axis. Beyond plans to sell military hardware, Russia has also been conducting joint military exercises with Pakistani troops. They are called friendship drills.

These military exercises have been happening since 2016. But such friendships may prove to be expensive for Russia. A crumbling Pakistan and a cornered China can only add to Vladimir Putin's problems.