Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa has said that Pakistan welcomes all initiatives which can bring peace and stability in Afghanistan as the whole region will benefit from it.
He said this in a meeting with Foreign Minister of Russia Sergey Lavrov, who is on a two-day visit to Pakistan – a first by a Russian foreign minister since 2012.
During the meeting at General Headquarters in Rawalpindi on Wednesday, matters of mutual interest including enhanced defence and security cooperation, regional security particularly Afghan peace process came under discussion, according to the military’s media wing, the ISPR.
“We have no hostile designs towards any country and will keep on working towards a cooperative regional framework based on sovereign equality and mutual progress,” Gen Qamar was quoted by the Inter Service Public Relations as conveying to the visiting dignitary.
Foreign Minister of Russia Sergey Lavrov called on Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa at GHQ and discussed matters of mutual interest including enhanced defence and security cooperation, regional security, particularly Afghan Peace Process, says #ISPR pic.twitter.com/jPUO8Um8Np— The Express Tribune (@etribune) April 7, 2021
The army chief apprised FM Lavrov that Pakistan values its relations with Russia and reciprocates the desire for enhanced bilateral military cooperation.
Army chief Gen Bajwa tells Russian FM Lavrov that Pakistan values its relations with Russia and reciprocates the desire for enhanced bilateral military cooperation pic.twitter.com/C2UyQavB0I— The Express Tribune (@etribune) April 7, 2021
Earlier during delegation-level talks with his Russian counterpart, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Pakistan had marked the beginning of 'a new era' with Russia.
“This visit, that has taken place a decade later, is significant. We hope that Russia will play a role in bringing peace to the region,” Qureshi said. “In bilateral talks, we also discussed economic cooperation and trade relations.”
The foreign minister said Pakistan was determined to promote its relations with Russia in diverse fields.
Qureshi, in a joint press conference, said that the issue of Afghanistan was also discussed in detail today. “Pakistan will continue its sincere efforts for peace in Afghanistan,” he said. The FM also commended Russian efforts for peace in Afghanistan.
The FM also briefed his Russian counterpart about the situation in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) and stressed the importance of its resolution for regional security.
The Russian foreign minister's visit highlights the deepening ties between Moscow and Islamabad, which remained in the opposite camps during the Cold War, particularly during the “Afghan jihad.”
The high-level exchanges were the result of years of efforts by the two sides to bury the past and open a new chapter in their relationship. This shift has been necessitated by the new alignments as well as strategic realities.
The fact that he opted to visit Islamabad, flying in directly from New Delhi, suggests that Russia is no longer viewed India as its only ally in the region.