Russian Defence Minister to visit Pakistan

While in Islamabad, Sergey Shoigu will have talks with his Pakistani counterpart Khawadja Asif

Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu will pay an official visit to Pakistan on Thursday.

It will be the first visit by Russia’s defence minister to the country after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The last such visit took place as far back as 1969, when USSR Defence Minister Andrei Grechko made a trip. While in Islamabad, Shoigu will have talks with his Pakistani counterpart Khawadja Asif, Russian defence ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov, who accompanies Shoigu on the current visit, told journalists.

“It is expected that the Russian defence minister will be received by Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif,” Konashenkov said, adding that Shoigu’s talks would center round topical issues of regional security and measures to invigorate defence and military technical cooperation between the two countries.

“The two defence ministers plan to sign an agreement on military cooperation,” the spokesman said.

A source in the Russian delegation said that the agreement will have a framework nature and will serve as a legal basis for closer cooperation between the two countries’ defence ministries.

In May 2014, Khawadja Asif took part in the third conference on international security in Moscow. On the sidelines of the conference, he met with his Russian counterpart. The two ministers then agreed that constructive cooperation between their countries was needed on the regional level.

Back then, Shoigu pointed to the topicality of Afghanistan-related subjects. He also called for further efforts to stabilize the situation in the region. “Naturally, we are interested in you, as the closest neighbours and people involved in Afghanistan-related processes,” Shoigu said.

The Russian defence minister was on an official visit to China from November 17 through 19.

First published by TASS 

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