Pakistan, Russia hold first consultations on regional issues | world-news | Hindustan Times
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Pakistan, Russia hold first consultations on regional issues

world Updated: Dec 14, 2016 20:59 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad

File photo of Russian troops arriving at a Pakistan military base for the first joint military exercise between the two countries in September 2016. (AFP)

The first diplomatic consultations between Pakistan and Russia on regional issues were held at the Foreign Office in Islamabad on Wednesday, the latest in a flurry of engagements between the two sides after years of frosty ties.

A statement issued by the Foreign Office said the two sides held talks on a range of regional issues and key areas of mutual interest, including economic cooperation and connectivity.

“The two sides exchanged views on important global and regional developments. It was also decided that the next round of consultations will be convened in Moscow in 2017,” the statement said.

The Pakistani side was led by Ahmad Hussain Dayo, director general (West Asia) in the foreign ministry, and the Russian delegation was led by Alexander V Sternik, head of the Third CIS Department of the foreign ministry.

The Pakistan government portrayed the meeting as another indicator of the improving ties with Russia. In September, the two countries held their first joint military drills for two weeks in Pakistan. The manoeuvres were seen as another move towards increased military-to-military cooperation, indicating a steady growth in bilateral ties.

On November 20, the Pakistani media quoted the Foreign Office spokesman as saying that Russia will host the first trilateral talks involving Pakistan and China on the situation in Afghanistan. Spokesman Nafees Zakaria said the initiative was aimed at ensuring peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region.

The military exercise angered India as it was held days after the terror attack on an army camp in Uri that was blamed on Pakistan-backed militants.

Russia lifted a long-standing arms embargo and signed a landmark military cooperation agreement with Pakistan in 2014. Last year, the two sides finalised a deal for four Mi-35 attack helicopters – another move that angered India.