In a ‘new turn’ in relations, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov is due to arrive in Islamabad on a two-day official visit today, Tuesday, to hold delegation-level talks with his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi and meet with Prime Minister Imran Khan and army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa.
Though the Moscow-Islamabad rapprochement is in its infancy, a slew of energy deals and growing military cooperation promise to spark life into the Russia-Pakistan relationship that was dead for many decades.
A major project is a gas pipeline due to be built by Russia and stretching 1,100 km (680 miles) from Lahore to the port city of Karachi.
“The foreign minister of Russia is arriving in Pakistan after a gap of nine years,” Qureshi said in a video message on Tuesday.
“Russia supplied us wheat to stabilize market prices when we recently faced a flour crisis in Pakistan,” the Pakistani foreign minister said.
The cozier diplomatic ties have so far also focused on Afghanistan, where Russia has cultivated ties to the Afghan Taliban militants who are fighting US troops and have historic links to Islamabad. Moscow says it is encouraging peace negotiations.
Other than that, he added, the Pakistani side would also highlight investment opportunities, including the revival of Pakistan Steel Mills that was built with Soviet assistance in the 1970s, but is now dysfunctional.
According to a statement released by the Pakistani foreign office on Monday, the two sides plan to review their bilateral relations during Lavrov’s visit and discuss ways to broaden and deepen cooperation in diverse fields.