Pakistan and Russia have signed an agreement to allow Pakistani troops to receive training at Russian military training institutes, a move aimed at boosting their bilateral defence ties.
The agreement was signed on Tuesday at the conclusion of the first meeting of Russia-Pakistan Joint Military Consultative Committee (JMCC), according to Pakistan’s defence ministry.
“Both countries signed the Contract on Admission of Service Members of Pakistan in RF’s (Russian Federation) Training Institutes,” the ministry said.
The Russian side was led by Deputy Defence Minister Col Gen. Alexander V. Fomin who visited Pakistan from August 6-7 to attend the first session of Russia-Pakistan Joint Military Consultative Committee (JMCC).
Lt. Gen (retd.) Zamir ul Hassan Shah, Secretary Defence, led the Pakistani delegation during the JMCC meeting.
Prior to the inaugural meeting, held on Tuesday at the Ministry of Defence in Rawalpindi, the visiting dignitary called on the defence secretary and the defence minister.
During the meetings, the two sides discussed the present status of their bilateral defence relations with the aim to further strengthen, expand and diversify mutual cooperation.
JMCC is the highest forum of defence collaboration between Pakistan and Russia.
During the inaugural session of the JMCC, both sides exchanged views on bilateral and major international issues including situation in the Middle East and Afghanistan.
A comprehensive issue based review was also carried out during which the two countries expressed satisfaction on the milestones achieved since the signing of ground breaking Agreement on Defence Cooperation in 2014. The two sides also held in depth discussions on avenues of future cooperation, the defence ministry said.
Col. Gen. Fomin also met Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee and the three services chiefs.
An Army spokesman said that Col Gen Fomin met Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and discussed the regional security situation and matters of mutual interest including enhancement of bilateral defence and security cooperation.
Gen. Fomin expressed his appreciation for Pakistan Army’s achievements against terrorism and expressed requirement of greater cooperative and collaborative approach among global community to defeat extremism.
Pakistan’s defence ties with Russia have moved past the bitter Cold War hostilities in recent years and the chill in the relations between Pakistan and the U.S. has further pushed the country towards Russia and China.
Pakistan has shown eagerness to build military-to-military level ties with Russia.
Earlier this year, the then foreign minister Khawaja Asif visited Moscow during which the two sides agreed to set up a commission to boost military cooperation.
Russia has over the past three years provided four Mi-35M combat and cargo helicopters to Pakistan and the militaries of the two countries also held joint drills codenamed ‘Friendship’.