PM Imran Khan Two Day Historic Visit in Moscow

On Wednesday PM Imran Khan went to Russia on an official two-day visit at the invite of Russian President Vladimir Putin. High-level government officials are accompanying the premier on the visit including Commerce Adviser Abdur Razzak Dawood, federal ministers Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Hammad Azhar, Amir Mahmood Kiani, Asad Umar, Chaudhry Fawad Hussain, and National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf.

Igor Morgulov Russian Deputy Foreign Minister along with high-level Russian officials welcomed and received the prime minister and Pakistani delegates.

The Prime minister and the Pakistani official received a guard of honor from the Russian Federation armed forces. And a red carpet welcome was given to the Pakistani delegation by the Russian officials. It is the first official visit of the Pakistani premier to Russia after two decades.

According to the foreign office statement, the bilateral meeting will be the focus of the visit. During the summit, the leaders of both countries will be reviewing the complete arrangement of bilateral relationships which also includes energy cooperation.

They would have a wide-range exchange of views on international and regional issues which also includes Afghanistan's state of affairs and Islamophobia. The premier visit to Russia will contribute to the further strengthening of the multidimensional Russia-Pakistan bilateral relations and increasing cooperation in a variety of fields.

The relationship between the two countries has made significant progress in the last two decades. The two sides had regular interaction at the working level as well as the highest official level.

The PM Imran Khan has spoken to President Vladimir Putin thrice, on Aug 25, 2021, Sep 14, 2021, and then on Jan 17, 2022. The invitation has been also extended by the premier to the Russian president to visit Pakistan.

According to analysts' opinion PM Imran's visit to Russia marks the beginning of a new era of relationship between two countries, especially after the sudden US forces last year withdrawal from Afghanistan.

A political analyst based in Moscow Andrew Korybko said that bilateral relationships have never been that good. However it is a long way ahead, the progress that has been made by Pakistan and Russia in a very short period of time is admirable.

Korybko stated in an email it is especially significant that the two previous Cold War-era rivals came close to each other due to mutual concerns about the threats coming out from Afghanistan, considering that both countries once fought a proxy war in Afghanistan.

He further explained that since 2014 after Russia lifted its arms embargo on Pakistan to help it to improve its anti-terrorist abilities, the relations between Russia and Pakistan have improved substantially. 

Annual joint anti-terrorist drills have been carried out by Pakistan and Russia which further served to improve trust between the armed forces and bureaucracies of the two countries more broadly.

After the Russian invasion of Afghanistan during the Cold War, Pakistan positioned itself with the United States, which provoked the Moscow leadership. In the recent past, the relationship between Russia and Pakistan tumbled again when Islamabad was given major non-NATO ally status by the U.S. government after the United States invaded Afghanistan in 2001.

According to the expert's opinion, the recent shift in Pakistan and the United States ties has compelled the country to seek a better relationship with Moscow.