Cold War foes Russia, Pakistan hold first joint-military drills

Cold War foes Russia, Pakistan hold first joint-military drills
Russian PM Putin shakes hands with Pakistan's PM Gillani during their meeting in St.Petersburg

Former Cold War advisories Pakistan and Russia are set to hold their first ever joint military exercise.

  • During the Cold War, Pakistan helped US funnel arms and fighters into Afghanistan to help insurgent groups fight Soviets.
  • Cold War: Communist Soviet Union was closely aligned with Pakistan's arch-enemy India, US with Pakistan.
  • Pakistan's top military spokesman, Lieutenant General Asim Bajwa: “Contingent of Russian ground forces" arrived in Pakistan for a two-week exercise beginning on Saturday.
  • Pakistan's Tribune Express newspaper: About 200 military personnel from both sides would be involved in the exercises.
  • Pakistani media last year: Islamabad bought four Mi-35 attack helicopters from Russia in first ever military deal with Russia.
  • Washington previously accused Islamabad of harboring Afghan Taliban fighters.
  • Pakistan wary of US improved ties with India.
  • Pakistan holds China as a steadfast “all-weather” ally.
  • Chinese plan to invest $46 billion in a road and rail energy corridor linking western China with Pakistan's Arabian Sea coast.

(ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN) Former Cold War-era rivals Pakistan and Russia are due to hold their first ever military exercise this month, Pakistan's military said on Friday, in another sign of shifting alliances in South Asia.

During the Cold War, Pakistan spent a decade helping the United States funnel arms and fighters into neighboring Afghanistan to help insurgent groups fight Soviet soldiers following their 1979 invasion of Afghanistan.

At the time, the communist Soviet Union was closely aligned with Pakistan's arch-enemy India, while the United States was a staunch supporter of Pakistan.

Pakistan's top military spokesman, Lieutenant General Asim Bajwa, said a "contingent of Russian ground forces" arrived in Pakistan for a two-week exercise beginning on Saturday.

About 200 military personnel from both sides would be involved in the exercises, Pakistan's Tribune Express newspaper said, citing military sources.

Pakistani media last year reported Islamabad had bought four Mi-35 attack helicopters from Russia in a first military deal of its kind between them.

While ties between Russia and Pakistan are growing closer, Pakistan's relations with the United States have cooled. Washington accused Islamabad of harboring Afghan Taliban fighters, something that Pakistan denies.

The United States has also improved ties with India, which Pakistan views warily.

Pakistan's relations with its steadfast, "all-weather" ally China have developed over the past year or so with a plan for $46 billion in Chinese investment in a road and rail energy corridor linking western China with Pakistan's Arabian Sea coast.

This article was contributed by Reuters

Please contact TRUNEWS correspondent Edward Szall with any news tips related to this story.
Email: Edward.Szall@trunews.com | Twitter: @EdwardSzall | Facebook: Ed Szall 
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