Brigadier, retired, Said Nazir (Defense Analyst): Besides the United States, Russia is also considered as a super power and after the disintegration of Soviet Union, the regional scenario has completely changed. Now, Russia is once again interested in South Asian region. Pakistan, being an important regional stakeholder, is playing a leading role in ongoing Afghan peace process and Russia is also a major stakeholder in this regard. Moscow also held a conference on Afghan peace process in which Pakistan also participated. Unfortunately, the regional instability has badly affected the economic development and trade. The Russian Foreign Minister’s visit to Pakistan after a gape of nine years is a diplomatic victory of Islamabad. The United States has shifted its focus to its relations with India whereas Pakistan is strengthening its bilateral relations with two emerging powers, including Russia and China. The strong relationship between China and Pakistan, as illustrated most recently by the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, has long played a key role in Asia’s geopolitics. The broader regional developments over the last few months also raise the possibility of a new coalition involving Pakistan, China, and Russia. Being a developed country, Russia can support Pakistan in strengthening its defense capabilities as well.
Rahimullah Yusufzai (Expert on Afghan Affairs): The visit of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov after a period of nine years is carries huge significance and it clearly indicating improvement in Pak-Russia relations. I am also hopeful that Russian President will also pay a visit to Pakistan as well. In the past, Pakistan preferred to be an ally of the United States rather than Russia that resulted in some tensions in Pak-Russia relations. Now the relations are back on the right track. Gradually the trade volume between both the countries is increasing. Moreover, Russia also participated in joint military exercises hosted by Pakistan. Pakistan was among the four major countries, including China, Russia and United States, which participated in the conference on Afghan peace process in Moscow. Basically, Russia, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan and China are the countries fed up of US hegemonic policies that are resulting on establishment of new regional block. Pakistan can prove itself a good ally of China and Russia. Islamabad and Moscow are playing crucial role in the Afghan peace process.
Dr. Huma Baqai (Expert on International Relations): It is a positive development that gradually the paradigm is shifting in South Asian region in a positive way. More importantly, the improvement in Pak-Russia relations is being observed with the passage of time. At this time, the bilateral trade between the two countries is ever highest recorded to 730 million dollars. Other projects including Pakistan Stream Gas Pipeline project, steel mills revival and railway projects are also under considerations. Russia has participated for the first time in Aman joint military exercises. The Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is visiting Pakistan after completing its visit to India. In my opinions, a new block consisting China, Russia and Pakistan is going to be established. As per international analysts, the Asian economies will be the largest growing economies in the world in coming years. The western nations have tagged Pakistan as geopolitical important country, whereas Pakistan with the cooperation of Russia and China will be geo-economic important country. Russia and Pakistan are on the same page on different regional issues. India has distanced itself from Russia and Iran for the sake of its alliance with the United States that brought Russia closer to Pakistan.