New Delhi. Amidst the changed situation in Afghanistan, a lot of closeness is being seen between Pakistan and Russia. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin over telephone and discussed the situation arising in Afghanistan as well as issues of regional and bilateral interest. The two leaders called in a phone conversation that the world should maintain contact with the war-torn country rather than leaving it alone at this crucial juncture. It is to be noted here that within a month the Russian President has spoken to Pakistani PM Imran Khan twice over the phone. From the latest developments, it seems that Russia’s inclination towards Pakistan is increasing. According to a statement issued by the Pakistani Prime Minister’s Office, Russian President Putin called Imran Khan during which the two leaders exchanged views on regional and bilateral issues of mutual interest. According to the statement, Prime Minister Khan underscored the need for the international community to maintain contact with Afghanistan and stressed that the Afghan people should not be left alone on this occasion. Underlining the importance of peace and stability in Afghanistan to regional security and prosperity, he stressed the urgent need to provide humanitarian assistance to the country and avert an economic crisis. Imran emphasized that close coordination and consultation between Pakistan and Russia on the situation arising in Afghanistan is very important.

Russia’s interest in Pakistan was also seen when the Russian Foreign Minister visited Pakistan for the first time after 9 years. It was part of the warmth in the cold relations between Pakistan and Russia. During his visit to Islamabad, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said in a statement that we are ready to strengthen Pakistan’s counter-terrorism capability, including by supplying special military equipment to Pakistan. Not only this, both the countries have also agreed to conduct additional joint military exercises like maritime exercises. The growing proximity of Russia and Pakistan is a matter of concern for India, because Russia and India have had good relations for a long time and even Russia has always been ready to help India. But for some time the attitude of Russia seems to have changed. Earlier, Russia had not invited India in the ‘Troika meeting’ on the Afghan issue, while Pakistan was invited in it. Russia believed that India was not as effective as Pakistan in solving the Afghan crisis. However, in the past, Russian President Putin also spoke to PM Modi for about 45 minutes.

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