Islamabad: Pakistan and Russia have agreed to hold first-ever joint military exercises as part of their enhanced defence cooperation, in a sign of increasing bonhomie between the Cold War-era adversaries.
The agreement was reached during a meeting in Moscow between Pakistan Defence Minister Khawaja Asif and his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu, Express Tribune reported. “We agreed to enhance cooperation in both defence industry and military training,” Asif was quoted as saying by state-run Russian news agency Sputnik International.
Asif is on an official visit to Moscow to attend a regional security conference. He held talks with the Russian defence minister, during which the two ministers agreed to increase military cooperation in training and import of arms and equipment.
“Joint participation in military exercises will be promoted,” the Pakistan defence ministry said in a statement. The ministers also agreed that conflicts should be resolved through diplomatic means and that use of force must be discouraged and abandoned.
They also reached a consensus that a multi-polar world would ensure peace and balance in international relations. Pakistan and Russia last year signed a military cooperation agreement to deepen their defence ties and vowed to translate their relationship in “tangible” terms during the first-ever visit of a Russian defence minister in 45 years.
Russian Defence Minister Shoigu's visit last November to Pakistan came at a very critical juncture as US-led NATO forces drawdown from Afghanistan.
Russia lifted embargoes on providing defence supplies to Pakistan and currently the two sides are working on different options to increase the ties in the defence field.