LONDON: Russia could back Pakistan and turn on India if it continues to trade with the West as Moscow and Islamabad pledge to improve defence ties, it has been claimed in a report published in Express newspaper here.
New Delhi has placed large orders with Vladimir Putin but has previously done so under the condition Russia does not sell certain arms to Pakistan, said the paper, adding that India’s 2016 £4.1 billion ($5.5 billion) S-400 surface-to-air missile deal was signed under these terms, said the report.
Express on Sunday quoted a Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) think tank Pakistani expert as saying that Russia may continue to restrict the amount and type of weaponry offered to Pakistan but this stance could change if India continues purchasing equipment from the West.
James Hackett, defence analyst with the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) think tank, added: “Russia is still very heavily invested in current and future Indian defence equipment. So in this context, because of India’s potential reaction, Russia would likely weigh carefully any decision to significantly deepen defence ties with Pakistan.”
The report claimed that Indian experts visited Pakistan to discuss aspects of bilateral ties between Islamabad and New Delhi to improve relations by reviving Track II diplomacy which involves the use of non-governmental contact to analyse possible solutions to tension and conflict.
The paper quoted a source as saying that the interactions between the two nuclear-armed states occurred between April 28 and April 30 in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad.
Another source added according to the paper: “The two sides discussed all aspects of bilateral relations and agreed that all issues between the two countries should be resolved through talks.”
Kanwal Sibal, India’s former foreign secretary, emphasised such dialogue between the two countries has been strained in recent years. He stated: “Neemrana has had a tough time over the past few years. Both sides felt though that it was important to keep alive that tradition but I didn’t go because I don’t think it would yield significant results in the current circumstances.”
Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mohammad Faisal, said: “India should walk the talk and refrain from provocative statements. Our armed forces practice restraint but have the capacity and are ever vigilant to give a befitting response to any threat to the motherland.”