Pakistan’s Defence minister Khurram Dastgir Khan confirmed to Sputnik that Islamabad was in talks with Moscow on the issue of purchasing air Defence systems, adding that Pakistan was interested in such weapons.
“Air Defence system is a different kind of weapon we are interested. We are very much interested in a very wide range of the Russian weapons technology. We are in negotiations [on air Defence systems] and once we conclude negotiations, we will be able to announce them,” Khan said in an interview.
Pakistan and Russia may reach an agreement on Islamabad purchasing Russian Su-35 jets “in the next few years,” the talks on the issue are in their early stages, Khan told Sputnik.
Last February, a high-ranking military official in Pakistan told Sputnik that Islamabad had no plans to buy the Su-35.
“Concerning fighter aircraft Su-35: may be in the next few years we will be able to reach that point, we are in the beginning of negotiations now,” the minister said answering a corresponding question.
Pakistan is interested in acquiring Russian T-90 tanks as a long-term commitment instead of a single purchase, Pakistani Defence Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan told Sputnik in an interview on Thursday.
“We are interested in tanks T-90 and it is not going to be a one-time purchase but it is going to be a long-term commitment,” Khan said.
Islamabad, Moscow Agreed to Enhance Defence, Intelligence Cooperation
Islamabad looks forward to expanding Defence cooperation with Russia in all areas, including military training, procuring equipment and sharing intelligence, Pakistani Defence Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan told Sputnik in an interview on Thursday.
“In the Defence field, we signed a historical unprecedented Pakistan-Russia Defence agreement in 2014. As a result, we have been able to conduct joint exercises, Pakistan has purchased Russian helicopters Mi-35 and now we are looking at much wider range of Defence cooperation. In terms of training, Pakistani officers are coming to Russia and Russian officers are going to the Pakistani facilities for training. We are also now discussing a wider range of military exercises, we are looking at a wider range of military equipment and intelligence sharing,” Khan said on the sidelines of the Moscow Conference on International Security (MCIS).
The official commended the current level of Defence industry cooperation, noting that in the future Islamabad hopes to expand the variety of military equipment sold by Russia to Pakistan.
“We are looking towards a great future in certain areas, in which Russia has excellent expertise, such as the tanks and air Defence systems,” Khan noted.
Even though Pakistan and Russia had differences in the past on the Afghan crisis, the countries have now achieved mutual understanding on regional and international issues, according to the minister.
“Of course we have a history of Afghan war in which we have been on the opposite sides but now as a second decade of the 21st century ends, we will be able to look at world realities with a different eye and I am delighted to say that Pakistan and Russia are largely in agreement on major international issues like Afghanistan, like fighting drug trafficking, situation in the Middle East. We are now looking now at almost all aspects of Defence and there is excellent goodwill between our leadership,” Khan underlined.
The official went on to say that Islamabad is grateful to Russia for supporting its accession to the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).
The SCO is a political, economic and military intergovernmental organization founded by China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan. Uzbekistan joined the SCO in 2001, while India and Pakistan became members in June 2017.