Russia embraces Pakistan with gas and diplomacy

ISLAMABAD: As US influence in Islamabad wanes, former adversary Moscow is building military, diplomatic and economic ties that could upend historic alliances in the region and open up a fast-growing gas market for Russia’s energy companies.

Russia’s embrace of Pakistan comes at a time when relations between the United States and its historical ally are unravelling over the war in Afghanistan, a remarkable turnaround from the 1980s.

Though the Moscow-Islamabad rapprochement is in its infancy, and it is China that is filling the growing void left by the United States in Pakistan, a slew of energy deals and growing military cooperation promise to spark life into the Russia-Pakistan relationship that was dead for many decades.

“It is an opening,” Defence Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan said in an interview. “Both countries have to work through the past to open the door to the future.”

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