Prime Minister Imran Khan is about to travel to Moscow for a crucial meeting. It comes at a time when the US and Russia have been at odds over Ukraine since the Cold War. If diplomacy fails, the situation might quickly escalate into a confrontation. Europe (US camp) and Eastern Europe (Russian camp) are attempting to stay out of the crossfire. Imran Khan, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, will travel to Russia at an inopportune time.
The most notable feature of this visit is that Russia did not extend an invitation; rather, an invitation was extended to Russia. And this is in a context where Putin has already contacted Prime Minister Narendra Modi to express gratitude for India’s UN Security Council support for Russia — a temporary position India has since the diplomatic consensus in Islamabad voted for it.
REAL AGENDA: A delegation from Moscow was in Islamabad recently to negotiate toll-free proceedings and tax exemptions in connection with the Pakistan Gas Stream Project. The Pakistani leadership wants to sign a commercial agreement with Russia during PM Imran’s visit. Another project which is likely to be on the agenda is the gas pipeline from Kazakhstan.
Russia did not ask for our help, and the US did not prevent us from visiting Moscow. Is it Pakistan’s irrelevance or the US’s apparent interpretation that we will return from Russia empty-handed and beg financial concessions from Washington in institutions such as the IMF, FATF, and others from a position of additional weakness?
During the Cold War, Pakistan and India had to make their own decisions as rivals, carrying the animosities side by side. If India clung to the Soviet Union, Pakistan eagerly embraced the United States of America.
Political equations shift with the shifting political landscape and global needs, but the “balance” is maintained in some way. Equations, as well as alignments and realignments, fluctuate according to a country’s primary goals.
As a result, orientations and shifts occur, which is unsurprising to veterans with experience in the field of international relations. So, if the Indian rule saw more benefits in switching camps from the USSR (now the Russian Federation), so did the Russian Federation.
While India joined the US camp to strengthen itself and make strong to match with the mammoth and gigantic China’s people’s liberation army (PLA), then Pakistan appears to have slipped closer to the Russian Federation in order to “balance” the South Asian power game.