MOSCOW: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif arrived in Moscow on Monday on a three-day official visit, said an ISPR statement.
Bajwa went on to say that a wreath laying at a tomb of a soldier was also carried out, adding that it was, “Heart-warming to see a Russian band play the Pakistan anthem perfectly.”
Following the ceremony, Gen Sharif met Colonel-General Oleg Salyukov, Commander-in-Chief of the Land Forces, said DG ISPR.
During the meeting they discussed regional security, bilateral defence cooperation and high-level military exchanges.
The Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) of Pakistan Gen. Raheel Sharif who arrived here on Monday on his 3-day official visit held his first meeting with Russian Commander-in-Chief of the Land Forces, Colonel-General Oleg Sayukov.
Colonel-General Oleg Sayukov is known for his deep knowledge in Far East issues while dealing with this desk during 1995 to 2014.
He will meet other leadership of Russian army during his stay. Though his meetingschedule is yet to be shared with media but there are possibilities of his meeting withPresident Vladimir Putin as both countries are coming closer for security related issues including arms deals under the leadership of Gen. Raheel Sharif.
He was giving a military Guard of Honour in front of Kremlin where he laid wreath at the Tomb of “Unknown Soldier” that is called as “Могила Неизвестного Солдата” in Russia.
There are hopes that Pakistan and Russia will finalise agreement for supply of MI 35 helicopter as earliest as possible since Pakistan needs this multipurpose state of the art chopper to fight terrorists in its restive and difficult terrain of tribal areas. Pakistan Army is fighting war against terrorism since last June under the title of Operation Zarb-e-Azb.
Russia is looking towards Pakistan as arms exporter due to tricky shift of Indian policy towards West while Pakistan is successfully developing closer defence and political partnership with Russia. On November 20, 2014, Pakistan and Russia signed a defencecooperation agreement that will help both the countries to strengthen bilateral relations and build mutual trust. The Russian defence minister visited Pakistan for signing this agreement and that was the first visit by Russia’s defense minister to Pakistan after the collapse of the former Soviet Union. The last visit took place as far back as 1969, when USSR Defense Minister Andrey Grechko made a trip to the country.
Russia is working since long to extend its reach to South Asia as its long time partner— India has opted “Look West Policy” since Shiv Shankar Memon was its Foreign PolicyArchitect. Indian financial and business interests moved towards Western world due to settlement of millions of Indians in North America and Europe. This situation is compelling Russia to get more friends in South Asia and in South East Asia. President Putin is giving extraordinary importance to “Reaching East strategy”. President Putin was planning to visit Pakistan three years ago but visit was postponed because Pakistan was massivelyinvolved with United States due to extreme security situation in the region and its then then civil and military leadership did not see Russia too important to lure Russian leadership to fix arrival dates. Now Pakistan is dealing terrorists through its own Army and resources and its dependence on US for dealing with terrorism is not even 10% today. Massive shift in military and defence strategy of Pakistan has been observed during the last two years and Pakistan is looking towards Russia and China while maintaining its balance with United States.
Pakistan during the last three years helped Russia at international forums including at United Nations Security Council. Pakistan morally supported Russian stance over Ukraine crises and Russian foreign office circles believe that this is right time to develop concrete and solid relations with Pakistan though Pakistan had been instrumental in Rossu-Afghan that caused havoc to former USSR.
“The only thing that lacks in Pakistan-Russian relationship is Trust because Pakistan had been too thin with United States and its Foreign Office bureaucracy is too close to US bureaucracy and educated mostly from United States. Though sitting leadership of Pakistan Armed Forces have expressed high level of confidence and trust to Kremlin but doubts remain in Russian civil and military bureaucracy about Pakistan”, commented a Far East expert in Moscow when asked to share his opinion about possibility of lasting relations between Pakistan and Russia.
Gen. Raheel Sharif took the charge of Pakistan Armed forces in November 2013. He will be 58 year of age while visiting Moscow as he was born on 16 June 1956.
He is known as upright soldier belonging to a family having long history of serving Pakistan Army. His father served pakistan Army as a Major while his eldest brother Major Shabbir Sharif, was declared as the martyr of Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 by Pakistan and received Nishan-e-Haider (that is highest Military Award of Pakistan). He is the nephew of Major Raja Aziz Bhatti, another Nishan-e-Haider recipient, who was declared as the martyr of Indo-Pakistan War of 1965.
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