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Call to Arms
Pakistan Looks to Buy Weapons from Russia

After recently ending its arms embargo against Pakistan, Moscow seems set to go through with a deal to sell MI-35 attack helicopters to the South Asian nation, ostensibly to assist it in its war against Islamist militants.

This sale has little precedent; Pakistan and India’s Cold War alliances, with the U.S. and Russia respectively, have largely endured to this day. After 9/11 especially, Pakistan was a major recipient of American aid and military equipment, while India maintained its strategic relationship with Russia by continuing to be its biggest weapons buyer.

Recently, though, things have gotten more complicated. In recent months, Pakistan has begun to look elsewhere for its energy, and with this newest deal, military needs as well—and in both cases, its gaze has settled on Russia. The Diplomat explains:

It could be argued that it was actually America’s entry into the region a decade ago that ultimately accentuated the circumstances that impel Russia and Pakistan closer to each other. Pakistan’s counter-terrorism cooperation with America salved with military aid has been toxic for domestic stability, as the situation in FATA and Waziristan reveal. As the tempo of internal stability operations has increased, Pakistan is keen to diversify away from America for certain classes of weaponry to a source that can supply cheaper and more rugged alternatives with a much smaller political price on the domestic front.

India, a long time buyer of Russian arms, is also diversifying its strategic partners. In trying to compete with China militarily, India has become the world’s largest importer of weapons. But India needs more, and more advanced military hardware, to have a chance to catch up. To that purpose, India’s been building military ties with Israel, France, and the U.S., while also trying to stimulate a domestic industry. The threat to greater military cooperation with India may also have compelled Russia to look to Pakistan.

The sale also may also simply come down to money. Russia’s MI-35s are cheaper than the American AH-1 Cobras the Pakistani military is currently deploying against the Taliban.

The Russia-Pakistan arms deal is only the latest reminder that up is down in foreign affairs nowadays. From the Sunni nations tacitly rooting for Israel to subdue Hamas, to Turkey grudgingly lending the Kurds a hand, geopolitical sands are shifting all over the world.

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  • Breif2

    Uh-oh. Time for an immediate pull-out from Afghanistan.

    Via Sevastopol.


  • Corlyss

    “Pakistan’s counter-terrorism cooperation with America salved with military aid has been toxic for domestic stability,”

    ????? How old is the person writing this drivel? Fully 1 year, ONE YEAR, before 9/11, Kaplan documented in Atlantic { } that the Taliban and its predations were causing major destabilization in Pakistan, and they were doing it very successfully without our help. It’s Afpaki politics that’s sent both nations down the crapper. It’s Paki ISI cultivation of the Taliban as an arm of its domestic policy that’s led to the current situation, including dragging us into it!

  • Fat_Man

    Pakistan is an enemy of the United States. They created the Taliban and they run it. They were harboring Osama bin Laden, and there is no reason to believe that his 9/11/2001 attack on the US was carried out with their knowledge and approval.

    The US needs to get all of our troops and civilians out of Afghanistan so that they do not continue to be Pakistan’s hostages. When the retreat is completed, we should bomb all of the expensive toys we have sold the Pakistani military.

    Let the Russians have them, they deserve each other.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    “diversify away from America for certain classes of weaponry to a source that can supply cheaper and more rugged”

    They are NOT more rugged, as the hours flown and survivability in combat have shown.

  • El Gringo

    This article also failed to mention Pakistan’s military relationship with China. Reading some kind of grand geopolitical shift in the situation seems a but dramatic. Pakistan is only doing the smart thing by playing off the Chinese, Russians, and Americans for the best deal.

  • Angel Zain

    #Russia #Pakistan #Arms #Military #Pakrussiadeals
    read in link

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