MOSCOW (Web Desk) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has turned down the invitation to visit Pakistan for inauguration of the North-South Pipeline Project with Moscow, emphasising that there was “not enough substance in this trip”.
Putin’s rejection has been seen as a blow to Pakistan’s expectations of making Russia a key ally in times to come. Declining the invitation implies that Pakistan’s hopes of a close alliance with Russia will have to wait a while.
Pakistan’s plans to buy armament, including aircraft from Russia, signing a number of bilateral agreements, setting up of the high-level consultative mechanism between Islamabad and Moscow, strategic dialogue between their respective Foreign Ministers and a Joint Working Group on counter terrorism, etc.
The high-level visits between the delegations were being projected as evidence of the new level of friendship and enhanced engagement between the two countries.
The assumption that Moscow was actively developing ties with Islamabad, particularly in trade and counter terrorism, seems to have belied general expectations.
Over 100 Pakistani businessmen, who had visited Russia to participate in an exhibition, were detained earlier on March 26 by the Immigration Authorities in Moscow and subsequently deported back apparently due to visa issues.
The Pakistani diplomats in Moscow had a very tough time in getting consular access to them. The cold shoulder being given by Russia to Pakistan is indicative of the underlying lack of trust between both sides, carried on from the days of the Cold War era.