Ditching India? Russian military institutes to train Pakistani soldiers


New Delhi: Pakistani soldiers and officers will soon be able to train at Russian military training institutes, in yet another indication of the deepening defence ties between the two countries who till a few years ago were in the opposing camp of world politics. The two countries on Tuesday signed the Contract on Admission of Service Members of Pakistan in RF’s (Russian Federation) Training Insti­tutes, paving the way for Pakistani troops to undergo training in Russia, a country which has been India’s biggest ally and suppliers of weapons and defence equipment.

According to Pakistani news website Dawn.com, the agreement was signed after the first Russia-Pakistan Joint Military Consultative Committee (JMCC) meeting in Rawalpindi on Tuesday. While the Russian delegation was led by Russian Deputy Defence Minister Colonel General Alexander Fomin, the Pakistani side was headed by Defence Secretary Lieutenant General (retired) Zamirul Hassan Shah. Gen Fomin also visited the General Headquarters and met General Qamar Javed Bajwa, the chief of the powerful Pakistani Army.

Both the countries had signed a defence cooperation pact in November 2014 and in October 2015 inked the military-technical cooperation accord under which the two countries would cooperate in developing weapons and Russia may also supply arms to Pakistan.

Pakistan has already received four Mi-35M combat and cargo helicopters from Russia since then while the soldiers of the two countries have also held a military exercise ‘Friendship’.

The Contract on Admission of Service Members of Pakistan in RF’s (Russian Federation) Training Insti­tutes comes just days after a Russian defence and strategic think tank gave a call to sell the Su-35 fighter jet to Pakistan and not worry about India as it had pulled out of the programme to jointly develop the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA).

“We do not want to offend the Indians, but I believe that against the backdrop of India’s hesitation about the project of the fifth generation fighter, Russia should promote the Su-35 fighter jet in Pakistan. Otherwise, Chinese, South Korean or even Turkish companies will take this market in about five years,” Russian Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies Deputy Director Konstantin Makienko told Pravda.

Makienko had added that Russia should discard the self-restraint of not selling state-of-art weapons to Pakistan as India had “removed all moral obligations from Russia with its behaviour”. The Sukhoi Su-35 Flanker-E air-superiority fighter is the most advanced fourth generation jet in service with the Russian military.

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