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Updated: December 5, 2010 19:36 IST

Russia saw Pak as ‘greatest’ threat to region: WikiLeaks

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A Pakistani security official displays a suicide jacket containing explosives allegedly recovered from Taliban activists in Karachi in this Nov. 30, 2010 picture. According to WikiLeaks Russia de facto imposed embargo on the sale of weapons to Islamabad Photo: AP
A Pakistani security official displays a suicide jacket containing explosives allegedly recovered from Taliban activists in Karachi in this Nov. 30, 2010 picture. According to WikiLeaks Russia de facto imposed embargo on the sale of weapons to Islamabad Photo: AP

Russia views Pakistan as the “greatest” potential threat to the regional stability and has de facto imposed embargo on the sale of weapons to Islamabad, according to a secret US diplomatic cable leaked by vestibules WikiLeaks website.

In his ‘secret’ dispatch, U.S. Ambassador to Moscow William J Burns said Russia viewed Pakistan as the greatest potential threat to regional stability and Russian Foreign Minister ruled out weapons sales to Pakistan as far back as 2003.

“Russian decision-making process has led to a de facto embargo on weapons transfers to Iraq, where Russia is concerned over leakages to Iraqi insurgents and al-Qaeda; to a hands-off policy towards Pakistan, the country Russia views as the greatest potential threat to regional stability (with then-Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov ruling out weapons sales to Pakistan as far back as 2003),” Mr Burns communicated in dispatch to Washington in October 2007.

Analysing the Russian arms export in which India and China remain big-ticket customers, Mr Burns wrote: “While Russian experts still downplay the ability of the US to displace Russia in the Indian arms market, for reasons of cost and the legacy of decades’ old dependence, they recognise increasing American inroads and growing influence.”

“Senior officials maintain that Russia does take into account the impact on the stability of the region in determining whether to sell weapons and shares our concern about weapons falling into terrorists’ hands,” Mr Burns, currently Under Secretary for Political Affairs with the State Department, noted in his analysis of the Russian arms exports.

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