Russia and Pakistan begin the second round of the Druzhba 2020 counterterrorism exercises today at the Pakistani National Counter Terrorism
Russia and Pakistan begin the second round of the Druzhba 2020 counterterrorism exercises today at the Pakistani National Counter Terrorism Center.
These joint “friendship” exercises have been held since 2016 and involve regular and special forces from both countries to strengthen and develop military cooperation. They will work together to develop improved methods for destroying terrorist cells, conducting technical reconnaissance, and carrying out combined arms ambushes involving aircraft support.
Pakistan has continued to shift away from the US in recent years, driven in part by the latter’s growing links with India. A stronger relationship with Moscow would give Islamabad more clout in potential talks or disputes with New Delhi. Moscow is also looking to expand its access to natural resources. However, any serious alliance is hampered by Moscow’s fear of alienating India, a much larger economic and military power, and forcing New Delhi closer to the US. Thus, Moscow does not wish to draw Islamabad too close to its orbit. Pakistan-Russia relations in the medium term are therefore expected to remain at an informal level with emphasis on economic growth and military cooperation rather than escalating to a formal alliance.
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