KARACHI: Indian media has raised eyebrows over the agreement Russia has signed with Pakistan for training of troops at Russian Federation Training Institutes.
For the first time, Pakistani soldiers will undergo training at Russian military institutes after the two countries signed an agreement related to it, in a sign of further strengthening their defence ties amid Islamabad’s increasingly uneasy relations with the United States.
The agreement was signed on Tuesday at the conclusion of the first meeting of Russia-Pakistan Joint Military Consultative Committee (JMCC) -the highest forum of their defence collaboration, according to Pakistan’s defence ministry. “Both countries signed the Contract on Admission of Service Members of Pakistan in RF’s (Russian Federation) Training Institutes,” the ministry said.
The Russian side was led by Deputy Defence Minister Col Gen. Alexander V Fomin who visited Pakistan from August 6–7 to attend the first session of Russia-Pakistan Joint Military Consultative Committee (JMCC). Lt. Gen (retd) Zamir ul Hassan Shah, Secretary Defence, led the Pakistani delegation during the JMCC meeting. Prior to the inaugural meeting, held yesterday in the ministry of defence Rawalpindi, the visiting dignitary called on secretary defence and the defence minister. The two sides discussed the present status of their defence relations with the aim to further strengthen, expand and diversify mutual cooperation.
The development was widely reported in Indian media with concerns and some outlets termed it as ‘worry for India’. New Dehli had also complained Moscow when Russia and Pakistan conducted first-ever joint military training in 2016 and another one in September 2017.
Commenting on the agreement, Lt Gen (retd) Talat Masood told Press Trust of India that the pact has opened new avenues of cooperation between the two countries and also showed that both sides are eager to further deepen their defence ties. It was a “very good move”, he added.