Moscow warms up to Islamabad

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The PA has had a long standing requirement for 'flamethrowers' for COIN ops in Fata.

Looks like 12 Mi17s are on the cards in addition to overhaul facility for RD93, AL31s and financing for IP.

Pakistan Army’s Chief of the Army Staff, Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, will be visiting Moscow in the coming days, following which Russian President Vladimir Putin will make a two-day official visit to Pakistan starting October 2, during which Putin will meet his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari during talks that are part of a quadrilateral summit to be hosted by Pakistan on October 3 in which Afghanistan’s and Tajikistan’s Presidents will also take part. The credit for initiating high-level dialogues between Moscow and Islamabad goes to Pakistan’s former President-cum-COAS Gen Pervez Musharraf, following his state visit in February 2003. Next to visit Moscow was President Asif Ali Zardari, who paid a three-day official visit to between May 11 and 13 this year.

*During this meeting, Islamabad had sought Russia’s financial-cum-diplomatic support for the Iran–Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline (for which Germany-based ILF has completed detailed engineering design and according to the interim feasibility report, the cost of the project is between $1.2 and $1.5 billion) after both the US and Saudi Arabia played spoilt-sports last March and forced the world’s largest ban--Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd (ICBC)—to roll back its plans for syndicating funds for the Pakistani side of the IP gas pipeline. Last year, Pakistan’s own state-owned National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) and Oil and Gas Development Company Ltd (OGDC) had walked away from the project last year fearing US sanctions. Faced with no other alternative, Islamabad has turned to Moscow for financial assistance for continuance of the IP gas pipeline project.*

Interestingly, Moscow has signalled its readiness to warm up to Pakistan’s overtures with the proviso that Pakistan accommodates Russia’s concerns regarding the regional security scenario in Central Asia, given the fact that Pakistan’s Gilgit-Baltistan/Khyber Pakhtunkhwa belt is separated from Tajikistan by Afghanistan’s narrow Wakhan Corridor, and that this belt of Pakistan also borders the Kashgar prefecture of China’s troubled Xinjiang province. To this end, Russia is reported to be willing to extend a sizeable quantum of security assistance to Pakistan, which is likely to include up to 12 new-build Mi-171 helicopters (to be built by the Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant) and hundreds of RPO-A Shmel (Bumblebee) shoulder-launched thermobaric rockets, items which the Pakistan Army urgently requires for its upcoming counter-insurgency campaign in North Waziristan.*

While in Moscow, Gen Kayani is also likely to canvass for the Kremlin’s approval for three crucial projects: creation of an engine overhaul facility in Kamra for the 84.4kN-thrust Klimov RD-93, whuch powers the Pakistan Air Force’s (PAF) JF-17 ‘Thunder’ MRCA; another overhaul workshop for the 12 RD & PE Zvezda JSC-built UPAZ-1 aerial refuelling pods in service with the PAF’s four IL-78MKP MRTT transports; continued product-support for the four IL-78MKPs; and most importantly, the export approval for 132kN-thrust AL-31FN turbofans required for powering the initial 40 FC-20 (36-single-seat and four tandem-seat) M-MRCAs that the PAF wants to procure from China’s Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corp (which is also producing the JF-17).

http://www.asian-defence.net/2012/09/moscow-warms-up-to-islamabad.html

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Posted · Report post

When is the COAS supposed to be going?

ndad

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Posted · Report post

Pressure from India...

There has to be more to it that just that. Putin and Russia would have known india wouldn't have liked this visit when it was being mooted.

I'm sure it'll come out in the wash soon enough.

What impact will this have on the gas pipeline project given the talk that a deal was going to be signed with gazprom during this visit?

Thanks

ndad

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Posted · Report post

Coordinating schedules of 4 heads of state is no easy task. Something is up. Obviously Puitin is calling the shots here as he cancelled.

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Assalamaoalaukum,

Army chief is still going. Cancellation has something to do with their internal politics with opposition staging daily demonstrations demanding Putin's resignation.

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One rumour on twitter (no source, just some media anchors spreading): The delayment is linked to Iran-Pak gas line, which Gazprom wants the contract to build it, without a bidding process. The russians have requested this in the past as well, and Pak response has been a no. Not sure if this could be a big enough reason to postpone the visit, but the contract is very large.

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We say no because it is against our rules, we always have to release a tender and have firms participate. I am glad we stuck to our guns!

I agree. If we dont show spine now, the relationship will quickly sink to a level where benefits for us will be limited.

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Posted · Report post

Well, it is the Russian way to handle business. We are no Indians (with big economy) so we have our rules. If they won't another might...

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"Strategic Realignment" theory that a lot of members are so passionate about is too big to be put on hold for a gas pipe line deal concession...

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This, once again, needs to be seen in the light of a balanced approach and non-alignment ( and I dont mean the Iran kind) approach with the global powers. We will achieve NOTHING by changing the boyfriend. We need some good friends...... not "best-friends", just good friends.

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Russia is good for a pipe deal or two, and may be some jet parts n stuff... United States is similarly important in some modern technology and training. Hopefully, we can understand how to play for OUR benifit, as opposed to others.

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Well said Ibrahim. I don't buy that Pakistan can afford to cut ties with the West/US and switch to the Russians. The best bet is to maintain ties on an even keel with both sides. No need to get extra cozy with either side.

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Indeed, we need "Friends, not Masters." Pakistan has learnt a lot from previous relationships. And I suspect that it will be Russia that will eventually break this alignment. However, we do hold some cards and need to play them wisely. This is relationship is not "either you are with us or against us."

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Have you even read the book by Ayub Khan?

Your point being? Should I have quoted Imran Khan instead? "Hum dosti chahte hain, ghulami nahin."

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Putin visit put off due to lack of progress on economic issues

From the Newspaper | Baqir Sajjad Syed | 12 hours ago

Russian President Vladimir Putin. — Photo by AFP

ISLAMABAD, Sept 28: In first explanation from Moscow on President Putin’s decision not to visit Islamabad, Russian presidential pointman for Afghanistan and Pakistan Zamir Kabulov linked it to a lot of rhetoric on the Pakistani side but little progress towards meaningful cooperation.

“Russian-Pakistani relations have been on the rise in recent years but progress has been mostly at political and emotional levels, while economic ties have lagged behind,” he told The Hindu newspaper.

The two countries finalised three memorandums of understanding at a meeting of the Pakistan-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission earlier this month for their signing during President Putin’s planned trip. The MoUs relate to expansion of Pakistan Steel Mills and cooperation in energy and education sectors.

Russian position was that the MoUs were non-binding and largely a reiteration of agreements signed last year during President Asif Ali Zardari’s visit to Moscow.

“Declarations are galore but they have little impact on the ground,” the Russian diplomat said.

Moscow’s main concern was Pakistan’s slow progress towards major projects in the energy sector, including Central Asia-South Asia electricity transmission from Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to Afghanistan and Pakistan (CASA-1000), and construction of rail tracks and motor roads from Tajikistan to Pakistan to create new trade routes in the region.

Russia has been interested in the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project.

The Hindu noted that Moscow had thrown its weight behind these ambitious energy and infrastructure projects, with Mr Putin pledging to invest $500 million in CASA-1000 and offering to help finance and build other projects. Yet, they have made hardly any headway.

Mr Kabulov indirectly expressed doubts that the United States could be preventing progress in Pakistan-Russia ties. “The Asia Development Bank, dominated by Japan, and the US-controlled World Bank appear reluctant to support ventures where Russia plays a lead role.” He said Russia was still open to continue to improve ties which were on a positive trajectory.

In his letter to Mr Zardari, President Putin left the door open for making mends. “I am confident that in future we shall be able to find opportunities for arranging our personal meeting,” he said.

Mr Putin also extended invitation to Mr Zardari — albeit an indirect one.

“We shall always be happy to receive you in Russia.”

Afghanistan is the factor that seems to be keeping Russia keen on relationship with Pakistan despite the current disappointment.

“Our own experience in the past and the track record of others in recent years has taught us that the problem of Afghanistan cannot be resolved without the constructive involvement of Pakistan and Iran,” Mr Kabulov said.

http://dawn.com/2012/09/29/putin-visit-put-off-due-to-lack-of-progress-on-economic-issues/

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Putin defers Pak visit over Iran gas pipeline issue

Afzal Khan / 29 September 2012

Russian President Vladimir Putin has cancelled his visit to Pakistan for the time being and instead hinted that he would prefer President Asif Ali Zardari to visit Moscow.

Putin’s decision comes at a time when the Pakistani president is in New York. His visit, if it had taken place on October 2, would have been the first by a Russian president.

On Thursday, the Foreign Office leaked select parts of Putin’s letter to President Zardari saying that the quadrilateral summit (Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Afghanistan), which was planned in Islamabad for October 2-3, 2012, was being rescheduled. No new dates have been given.

President Zardari had spearheaded efforts to mend ties with Moscow, and for the first time, the Russian leadership had reciprocated. In his letter President Vladimir Putin expressed his eagerness to “jointly enhance our efforts to further develop Pak-Russia ties and advance mutually beneficial trade and economic projects.

Diplomatic observers noted that the postponement of Putin’s visit will be a great setback for the Zardari government. The real reason for the postponement, which may have been contained in the full letter, has not been disclosed.

These observers suspect that Pakistan’s reluctance to award Russia’s energy giant Gazprom a $1.2 billion contract for the Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline without going into the bidding process, which is an international norm prompted Putin to defer the visit.

Russian teams have held several meetings in Islamabad this year, and Russia’s bid to finance the gas pipeline was seen as a bold move by Moscow against the backdrop of fiercce US opposition to commercial links with Iran.

news@khaleejtimes.com

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/displayarticle.asp?xfile=data/international/2012/September/international_September928.xml&section=international&col=

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If the pipeline is indeed the issue as suggested by the above articles it seems that russia is trying to play hardball. Pak is right to go for the tender process but my worry is that due to western pressure there may be few takers at the end of the process leaving pak short of time and facing heavy penalties.

The above said, I'm surprised by Russia too. Engagement is in their interest as much as Pakistans and therefore such a approach isn't very 'diplomatic'.

ndad

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If the pipeline is indeed the issue as suggested by the above articles it seems that russia is trying to play hardball. Pak is right to go for the tender process but my worry is that due to western pressure there may be few takers at the end of the process leaving pak short of time and facing heavy penalties.

The above said, I'm surprised by Russia too. Engagement is in their interest as much as Pakistans and therefore such a approach isn't very 'diplomatic'.

ndad

This seems odd. With sanctions on Iran, which countries would be willing to participates in the bidding process.

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Posted · Report post

Maybe they can play hardball cause no other is allowed to play?

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So you guys want us to subvert our own rules just because of a little hardball by Russia? The rules are in place for a reason even if that means no pipeline deal for Pakistan.

Agree re the rules, but the 'no pipieline deal' has major economic and financial consequences which Pakistan cannot afford.

Where is the tender process for the pipeline?

ndad

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This issue of not going beyond 'talk and talk' is indicative of the culture in Pakistan of 'feqar nah keray or bay feqar rahay....''

No one wants to do business on verbal bases rather it's all about tangibility!

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Or is it that Putin wants to deal with the next guy in power? Zardari may not survive beyond the next election.

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Or is it that Putin wants to deal with the next guy in power? Zardari may not survive beyond the next election.

U know what, thats a good point! I was thinking about that as well. Why would Vladimir Putin - one of the world's most influential people - want to do business with a clown ... that may not survive another four months. And then, they will have to re-access the mood of the next administration and see where they are on the issues.

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We need to reinvigorate the relationship with the Russians on a stable footing... as a matter of national policy, not some bargaining chip. I hope President Putin reconsiders his itinerary and includes Islamabad in his vision, and I am confident that we can build some bridges that would last beyond this unstable administration.

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The PA has had a long standing requirement for 'flamethrowers' for COIN ops in Fata.

Looks like 12 Mi17s are on the cards in addition to overhaul facility for RD93, AL31s and financing for IP.

To this end, Russia is reported to be willing to extend a sizeable quantum of security assistance to Pakistan, which is likely to include up to 12 new-build Mi-171 helicopters (to be built by the Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant) and hundreds of RPO-A Shmel (Bumblebee) shoulder-launched thermobaric rockets, items which the Pakistan Army urgently requires for its upcoming counter-insurgency campaign in North Waziristan.*

http://www.asian-defence.net/2012/09/moscow-warms-up-to-islamabad.html

So the hundreds of RPO-A Shmel (Bumblebee) shoulder-launched thermobaric rockets will be used by the SSG right ? I hope that Mi-17 get be armed with board-guns and Rocket pods or have the Items to carry this weapons !

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