Islamabad wants to procure weapons from Russia and develop military-to-military relations, Prime Minister Imran Khan said, adding that he is happy Pakistan is moving “closer” to Russia in the “changing” world.
“Yes, we are looking for arms from Russia, and I know our military is already in touch with the Russian military,” Khan told Sputnik News on Thursday.
Although the Pakistani military has relied on Western and Chinese suppliers for decades, its interest in Russian weapon systems has grown over the years. Recently, there have been reports that Pakistan is looking at an array of fighter jets and attack helicopters, including the Sukhoi Su-35 and Mi-35M.
Pakistani troops have also been taking part in Russian war games, while a number of their officers have been trained at military academies in Russia.
While both countries were in “opposite camps” during the Soviet war in Afghanistan (1979-1989), times have changed, and “I am very happy that we now are moving closer to Russia,” Khan said.
The world is not what it used to be, according to the PM, and this has effects on bilateral relations.
The power centers are changing, or there are different power centers growing. And so we hope that in this new world order our relationship with Russia keeps improving.
Islamabad used to “look to the United States as the only ally and trading partner.” But now China, with its Belt and Road Initiative, is increasingly shifting into the focus of interest as well, the prime minister said.
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