National Security Adviser Dr Moeed Yusuf arrived in Moscow on a two-day visit to discuss regional issues particularly the current Afghan situation with his Russian counterpart on Tuesday.
Moeed is visiting Moscow at the invitation of Russian National Security Adviser Nikolai Patrushev. During his visit, he will hold talks with senior Russian officials to discuss range of issues including Afghanistan.
Pakistan and Russia have shared a similar view on Afghanistan as both countries have sought engagement with the Taliban government. They also urged the United States to unfreeze $9.5 billion assets of the Afghan Central Bank. However, Washington is using Afghan foreign assets as leverage over the Taliban to make them meet international expectations.
Both Russia and Pakistan are worried that the economic collapse of Afghanistan may allow terrorist groups to gain a foothold in Afghanistan. Russia is particularly concerned over the threat posed by Da’esh in Afghanistan.
Official sources said that Moeed’s visit was part of increased exchanges between the two countries in view of the changing regional situation.
Pakistan and Russia were in opposite camps during the Cold War. Russia fought against Pakistani and western-backed Mujahideen but in recent years both countries have made efforts to bury their bitter past and open a new chapter in bilateral ties.
Relationship between the two countries has seen improvement in recent years as both sides are not only regularly holding military exercises but also cooperating in other fields as well.
Russia is close to signing a deal with Pakistan to lay a gas pipeline from Karachi to Lahore. Similarly, Russia, which has remained a strong ally and arms supplier of India, is also keen to deepen defense ties with Pakistan.
Interestingly, Moeed’s visit comes just days before Russian President Vladimir Putin is due to visit India and the timing of his visit suggests that Putin's visit may also come up in the discussions.
Earlier this year, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov visited Islamabad and conveyed a message from President Putin that Russia was ready to extend all possible help to Pakistan.
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