PAKISTAN-RUSSIA RELATIONS: POST-COLD WAR ERA Assignment

PAKISTAN-RUSSIA RELATIONS: POST-COLD WAR ERA Assignment Words: 4840

The renunciation of the Soviet communist ideology, coupled with the unraveling Of the Soviet Union into Russia, and the reemergence of former states as well as the emergence of the capitalistic arrest economy within the socialistic mindset of these societies, all served to shift the global focus from ego-politics to ego-economics.

In this changed global scenario, the dominant factors in relations be;en the states are adherence to common principles, like promoting democracy, human rights and peace, the search for resolving of regional conflicts, as well as for conventional arms control and nuclear non proliferation, trade liberalizing and market economy, rather than the pursuit of the specified strategic and ideological goals, as camp followers of two rival Super Powers. Russia, the successor of the Soviet Union, is caught between a nostalgic past and an uncertain future.

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Russian’s international status has significantly degraded, as this former super power is currently viewed by many as a little more than a ‘Third World regional power’, even though it still possesses a significant though an antiquated nuclear arsenal. 1 The break up of the Soviet Union saw the Russian borders roll back to from where they had been in the Caucasus in the early 1 8005, in Central Asia in the mid-1800, and in West Europe to that existed around approximately 1600. This degraded status has generated enormous soul searching in Russia about its current identity and where it stands today in the global scenario. Generally speaking, Russian’s foreign policy makers have three broad, and partially overlapping, ego-strategic options, related to the country’s national interests and its status visit- A-visit America. These alternatives emerged in the period following the Soviet Union’s collapse, namely: 1. Priority laid on establishing a ‘mature strategic partnership’ with America. . Emphasis on the ‘near abroad’ as Russian’s central concern, with some advocating a Moscow-dominated economic integration, thus restoring, though partially, the image of its former imperial control. Moreover, Russian’s regional role as a power would be strengthened, thereby serving as a balance visit—visit America and Europe. 3. Consideration of an Eurasian counter alliance, designed to reduce the preponderance of the US unchallenged global influence. It is generally agreed that in the post- Soviet Russia, there are divergent opinions on foreign policy making among the Foreign Ministry, the academic community and the parliamentary circles. In the initial period around 1992-1995, the Westerners or the ‘Atlantics’ led y Andrei Kookier, the first Foreign Minister of the Post Soviet Russia, and his foreign policy establishment were in clear ascendancy. Thus in this period, Asia in general, and South Asia specifically, was accorded a low priority in Moscow restructuring.

In January 1 993, the Russian Foreign Ministry published the ‘Concept of Russian Federation’s Foreign Policy’, in which South Asia was accorded seventh place in its list of ten priorities-4 The emphasis was on a ‘Look West’ policy, emphasizing close relations with the West European countries, where too, the significant events, such as the re- unification of Germany and the break up of Yugoslavia took place. However, the ‘Look West’ policy of the Russia, with an emphasis on forging a ‘Strategic Partnership’ with the US-Died West on an equality basis, remains severely challenged.

Moreover, its ‘near abroad’ policy of exercising influence on the Commonwealth of Independent States (CICS), which previously were part of the Soviet union, is largely backfiring, with Anta’s expanding eastwards, and rising anti-Russian sentiments in the newly independent CICS. All these developments have forced Russia to rethink its relations with its eastern and outworn neighbors. In South Asia, itself having undergone significant changes, the demise of the Soviet Union and the emergence of Russia as its successor carries its own implications.

Pakistan is faced with both internal and external challenges to its development and sovereignty. The security threats to its territorial integrity, which have remained persistent since its inception as a sovereign entity in 1947, were somewhat mitigated by Pakistan joining the Western alliance system, SEATS and CENT, during the Cold War, which largely helped in buttressing its defenses. However, in the post bi-polar oral, Pakistan once more feels threatened that its allies Of the Cold War period, the US and the West, would and could leave it in the lurch.

Within the largely changing external environment since the end of the Cold War, Pakistan needs to review its ties with the other countries, by putting its foreign policy on a pragmatic and constructive basis. One of the major challenges for Pakistanis foreign policy is the need for a constructive engagement with Russia. This study focuses on both the foundations and the potential for such a development. Pakistan-Soviet Union Relations in the Cold War Era Pakistanis relations with the former Soviet Union, the predecessor of current Russia, fluctuated from cool to antagonistic and hostile.

The establishment of Pakistan in August 1 947 was not seen as a favorable development in Moscow. The Soviet Union regarded the division of the Indian Subcontinent as ‘the divide and rule’ strategy of British policy in India, and had earlier labeled the Muslim League as a tool of the British, from its very inception. Moreover, it did not send any congratulatory message to Governor General Zinnia, the founder of Pakistan. Rather it moved slowly in extending its politics recognition to Pakistan.

Even the first move to establish diplomatic relations between Pakistan and Russia was not made till April 13, 1948, on which date Pakistanis Foreign Minister, Sepulchral Khan, in New York proposed to Soviet Deputy Foreign Minister, Andrei Groom, that their countries should exchange ambassadors. The Pakistan initiative ran out of steam because, though the Soviet agreement to establish diplomatic relations was announced within a month of the New York meeting it was not till another seventeen months had passed that Pakistan named her first ambassador to the USSR.

The nominee finally presented his credentials in Moscow in the last days of 1949. His counterpart from Russia took even longer to show up in Pakistan and assumed charge of his office on March 22, 1950. 5 At the time of the emergence of Pakistan, the existing international system was characterized by the tight bi-polarity of the Cold War, and its ‘spheres of influence’. Pakistan faced serious problems of development and defense. The manner of partition, which brought Pakistan and India into being, had the Worst adverse impacts territorially, economically and financially on Pakistan, and it further faced the issues arising out of the

Kashmir and river water disputes, the legacy of imperial duplicity of the out going imperial power, Britain could not be relied upon to arbitrate impartially in the solutions of the problems it had itself initiated. The Kashmir dispute could not find a place in the early agenda of the Commonwealth Conference, where, after a strong protest by the then Pakistani Prime Minister, Loquat All Khan, it was only informally discussed. At this stage, namely the first few years (1947-1953) of the existence of Pakistan, it can be described as the era of non-alignment for the new-born nation state, faced with major internal and external problems.

However, Pakistanis early policy of non-involvement in the power politics did not pay. Regarding the Kashmir dispute, the Soviet Union maintained a neutral and non-committal attitude, while the Western members of the Security Council initially strove to have the Kashmir dispute settled. Since the status quo was acceptable to India, and not at all to Pakistan, the Soviet attitude in effect favored India. In a session of the UN Economic Commission for Asia and Far East in 1948, Pakistan made it clear that she would accept aid from any source, but the Soviets did not respond to that request.

However, two events in the first part of 1 949, caused Russia and Pakistan to take a fresh look at their relationship. The first was Indian’s decision in April 1 949 to remain within the Commonwealth. In contravention to Indian’s own past declarations, it was a clear sign that she was leaning towards the Western countries, which were allied in various post-World War II organizations in the US-Died camp, and thus on the opposing side of the USSR. The second was Indian prime Minister Nehru announcement on May 7, 1949, that he had accepted an invitation to visit the united States in October of that year.

In reaction to this, the Soviet Union extended an invitation to Pakistanis Prime Minister, Loquat All Khan, in 1 949 to visit Moscow. The visit of the Pakistani Prime Minister, as accounts have shown, were on the cards, but circumstances so conspired that Loquat All Khan went to United States instead, thus shelving his visit to Russia. No official explanation was given for this decision, to explain the preference to first visiting the US instead of USSR, from which it had received the prior invitation. However, it is generally believed that Pakistan was in need of economic and military aid for placement and defense purposes.

Moreover, Pakistan was striving for a resolution of Kashmir dispute with India, on which the Western countries were initially striving for a resolution in the United Nations’ Security Council, in stark contrast to the position taken by the Soviet Union, which had maintained an indifferent and neutral stand, one that was more favorable to India, itself intent upon maintaining a status quo. Since the US, along with its allies in the Security Council, was in a better position to help Pakistan in the Kashmir dispute and in providing the financial aid required, the fledging Pakistan Government had to take the more expedient route.

However, Pakistan had no intentions of having relations with the US at the Cost Of relations with the Soviet Union. While in the US, Loquat All Khan repeatedly stated that Pakistan had much to gain in the agricultural field through better relations with the Soviet Union-8 Pakistanis decision to join the Western security alliance system, SEATS in 1954 and CENT in 1955, was an abrupt change in its earlier non-aligned foreign policy, to that of an alignment with the Western bloc led by the US. This phase in Pakistanis foreign policy is nearly regarded as the Era of Alliances (1954-1962).

The following reasons can be forwarded for this change in Pakistanis foreign policy. (1) Although the Western security alliance system was aimed to check the spread of communism, yet Pakistan hoped to acquire substantial economic and military aid to bolster its defenses against India, with which it had an outstanding dispute over Kashmir and had fought a limited war in 1948. (2) Pakistan felt that with its membership of the Western security alliance system, it could seek a solution of the Kashmir dispute through the help of partner Western entries. 3) The elites of Pakistan were under the Western influence and were advocating Pakistanis joining of Western alliance system. (4) Ideologically, Pakistan was more akin to the US than to the Soviet Union. Moscow did not appreciate Pakistanis alliance within SEATS and CENT, which it interpreted as a link in the containment strategy against it by the united States. Despite Pakistanis assurances that its own alliance partnership was intended to strengthen its defenses against India, the Soviet Union looked at Pakistan with suspicion.

With the intensification of global rivalry tenet the two super powers, as well as the growing rift be;en the two communist giants, Russia and China, Russia took a big swing towards India. It is indeed significant that relations between Pakistan and the Soviet union remained satisfactory as long as Pakistan remained uncommitted in the Cold War. Before 1954, the Soviet Union maintained a neutral and a non-committal or indifferent attitude on Kashmir, when the Western countries were initially striving to find a settlement to the dispute.

Though the Soviet initial indifference did not help Pakistan, it was when Pakistan joined the SEATS and CENT, that Soviet Union became overtly pro-Linda. In one of his speeches during his visit to India in December 1 955, the Soviet premier declared that he regarded Kashmir as the northern part of India and the people of Kashmir as part of the Indian people. 9 Against this background of suspicion engendered by Pakistanis partnership within the US-Died Western security alliances, there were instances when both the Soviet Union and Pakistan took significant steps to improve their relations.

In March-April 1 954, a delegation of the Soviet cultural troupe toured Pakistan and a festival of the Soviet films as held in Karachi. To reciprocate this, the Pakistani government also sent a delegation to study the Soviet industrial and agricultural development. In 1956, the Soviet Premier Bulgarian, offered Pakistan Soviet technical know how for peaceful uses of atomic energy. Pakistanis Republic day in Moscow, in August, Was attended by the Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov, who hinted that the Soviet government would be willing to construct a steel mill in Pakistan.

In a goodwill gesture, the USSR announced a gift of 1 6,500 tons of rice to help Pakistan tide over a food crisis. Also in the same month, both countries included a trade agreement, which accorded each other ‘the status of the most favored nation’ regarding imports and exports. The Soviet government once again invited the Prime Minister of Pakistan to visit USSR, but the visit once again could not materialize because of internal political developments within the country. Leader of Soviet Parliamentary delegation, l. A. Benediction, paid a visit to Pakistan in February 1958.

He expressed his country’s willingness to give economical and technical assistance to Pakistan, mainly in agriculture, control of floods and desalination, control of pests and oil erosion. Following the change in government in Pakistan, Moscow once more renewed its offer of assistance in November 1 958, to help explore natural resources, particularly oil. The two countries signed a barter deal in December 1959. However, it was the U-2 spy plane incident in May 1 960, which brought the bilateral relations to its worst position. 0 Pakistanis acceptance in August 1960, of the Soviet offer of long term loan of IIS$30 million for oil exploration helped in restoring the relations. The oil agreement was followed by another barter deal in August 1963 and an air agreement in October 1963. Following the Sino-Indian border war in 1 962, Pakistanis policy of alignment with the West faced a major litmus test. The United States, as part of its China containment policy, rushed military aid to India, to which Pakistan strongly objected.

United States, however, ignored Pakistanis protests. Pakistan, therefore, reviewed its policy and started normalizing its relations with Russia and China. That era from 1963-1978 is generally known as the era of bilateral. President Baby Khan’s visit to Moscow in April 1965, was the first direct personal contact in 18 years between the top leaders of Pakistan and USSR. The talks between the Russian leaders and President Baby contributed to removing the misunderstanding, which had plagued relations between the two countries.

The visit paved the way for signing three agreements on trade, economic cooperation and cultural exchanges. However, when the India-Pakistan war of 1 965 broke out, the Soviet position on the problem was consistent with its manifest support of India. Yet, following the cessation of hostilities. It was the Soviet Union which played the forefront role as both the Indian and Pakistani heads of government signed he ‘Taken Declaration’ on Soviet territory, which was assuaging to Pakistan.

Pakistan-Soviet collaboration continued with another barter deal signed in January 1966, providing for the exchange of Pakistani rice for Russian vehicles and road building and engineering machinery. In May 1966, Soviet consular offices were opened in Dacha and Karachi. The same year Soviet Union also offered Pakistan CSS$AD million in aid and also agreed to grant a credit of RSI. 600 million for constructing 15 broadcasting stations. April 1968 saw the visit of Russian Premier Gussying to Pakistan. As a consequence f that visit, Moscow announced a limited quantity of arms supply to Pakistan.

However, the Soviet military aid to Pakistan, amounted to only $ 5-10 million as against $600-700 million arms assistance, which it gave to India. Even Afghanistan and Iran received much larger Soviet arms aid than Pakistan did, amounting to 3260 million and $1 00 million respectively-II In 1971, relations once more deteriorated with Russia with India signing the friendship treaty and Pakistanis successful efforts at rapprochement between China and US. Soviet Union played a decisive role in the dismemberment of

East Pakistan, through its role both at the Security Council and in the military assistance it rendered to India during the December 1 971 India-Pakistan war. It vetoed the Peking-supported US resolution in the Security Council on December 5, 1 971, which called for the immediate cessation of hostilities, withdrawal of armed forces and stationing of observers on the India-Pakistan border. To the contrary, Soviet Union, in line with the Indian stand, demanded first for a political settlement in East Pakistan, followed by the cessation of hostilities.

On December 6, 1 971, the Soviet Union vetoed another resolution purported by the US, in which the Soviet Union’s objections did not contain ‘political settlement’ of the East Pakistan crisis as a priority. Along with eight other socialist countries, the Soviet Union once more vetoed an Argentine- sponsored resolution asking for the cessation of hostilities and withdrawal of armed forces from each others territory. On December 13, 1 971, the Soviet Union used its veto for the third time to prevent the passage of a US resolution calling for an immediate cease-fire.

To the contrary, it supported the polish resolution, which urged Pakistan to take Steps for a peaceful ranger of power in the ‘eastern theatre of conflict’ to the lawfully elected representatives of the people, headed by Sheikh Maximum Raman, as the ‘correct approach’. Pakistan construed the Soviet stand as an interference in its internal affairs. 12 Moscow decision to send its military forces into Afghanistan in the late ass, to put in place a proxy regime and defend it against the rising mass resistance against the Soviet Union, and the resultant outright war against the Afghans, further worsened its relations with Pakistan.

However, as Pakistan became a frontline state and along with other regional rowers, feared that accepting the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan would endanger its own long-term security interests, Pakistan again found itself firmly entrenched in the Western camp, aligned against the Soviet Union in the Western strategy of defeating the Soviet aggression. By bolstering up the Afghan resistance, Pakistan played a pivotal role as a conduit to land-locked Afghanistan and eventually in the defeat of the Soviet ability to hold on to Afghanistan militarily, thus shattering its image of invincibility.

Most political observers agree that the Soviet debacle in Afghanistan was a major initiatory factor in the eventual demise of the Soviet Union and the fall of communism within Soviet Union itself. 13 Pakistan-Russia Relations in the Post Bipolar World (1990-to date) The world has changed rapidly since the formal end of the Soviet Union in December 1991. Pakistanis relations with the Russian Federation, which emerged as the successor state to the USSR, are quite inseparable from the legacy of more than four decades of earlier Pakistan-Soviet relations.

While the new situation provided a major opportunity for a fresh beginning in Islamabad-Moscow relations, which was ken up by both sides, the foundation for it were laid earlier, as shown above, during a period when major irritants existed. High level bilateral contacts took place between Pakistan and the Russian Federation immediately thereafter. It seemed for some time that in the changed ego- political global scenario after the collapse of the Soviet Union, that Moscow tended to accord greater attention to Pakistan and other Muslim countries on its southern periphery. 4 In November 1992, Cards Safes All, as Pakistanis Minister of State for Economic Affairs, visited Moscow, followed by his well- now tour of the Central Asian States. Pakistanis first ministerial visit to the Russian Federation, after years of neglect by past governments, was a major initiative and contributed significantly to the opening up of a new chapter in Pakistanis relations with the Russian Federation. In reciprocation, the then Russian Vice President, Alexander Riotous, visited Pakistan in December 1992.

Russian’s new appraisals considered Pakistan as a crucial factor to any political settlement in Afghanistan, inclusive of its help to Moscow to get back its Russian Poss.. The joint communique issued at the time of Oratorio’s visit said hat it was the policy of the Russian government ‘to develop relations with Muslim states on new principles, devoid of ideological obstacles and based on mutual respect, goodwill and mutual benefit’. The joint communique was significant in many ways.

It reiterated Russian’s support for the Pakistani proposal of a nuclear-free zone in South Asia. It also welcomed the Pakistani proposal for a five-nation conference on nuclear non-proliferation in the region. Moreover, the mention of Kashmir in the joint communique was worded in a manner advantageous to Pakistan. The Russian side acknowledged Pakistanis position on Kashmir and expressed the hope that the issue would be resolved peacefully through negotiations between Pakistan and India on the basis of international agreements.

The two sides also discussed a draft agreement for cooperation in the political, economic, commercial, scientific, technical and cultural fields. It expressed the hope that there existed good prospects for ‘initiating mutually beneficial cooperation in the field of economy and trade’. It was also agreed to hold regular contacts between the parliamentarians, and between their respective foreign policy ND defense establishments. As a pointer to growing warmth in Pakistan- Russia relations, an international conference was held in Moscow in April 1992 on relations between Pakistan and the CICS.

Several high-level exchanges of delegations have taken place between the two sides since then. A broad range of bilateral issues have been discussed during these visits, which, besides highlighting other areas of cooperation, also included proposals for the collaboration in the field of defense, outer space, technology and peaceful uses of nuclear energy. That also is proof of the Russian desire to upgrade elation’s with Pakistan, in itself a radical departure from the earlier Soviet-day policy of treating Pakistan as an adversary.

Pakistan, too, has been appreciative of Russian statements that, following the end of the Cold War, it seeks a balanced approach towards South Asia, and attaches an ‘independent significance’ to its relations with Pakistan. According to a political observer, in the early post-Soviet Russia, staunch pro-Western Atlantics, like Foreign Minister Andrei Kookier, downgraded the strategic importance of South Asia: ‘Theirs was a ‘Look West’ policy that made the special relationship with India a cacti.

Moscow new policymakers were also anxious to present a new face of a refurbished, post-communist nation devoid of previous baggage, and the special relationship (with India) was seen as a legacy of the past’. 15 Moscow, therefore, pressed on with what appeared to be a remodeled foreign policy stance. Russian Vice President Alexander Riotous proclaimed the objective of new and positive relations with Muslim states in South and Central Asia, including Pakistan, to be established with the idea of ‘queue-distance’ between New Delhi and Islamabad. 6 It was against this background that the Russian President, Boris Holstein, extended an invitation to Pakistanis Prime Minister, Binaries Bouts, to visit Russia in December 1994, which reflected that Moscow was serious about establishing a more balanced relationship with Pakistan. The visit was, however, postponed due to the domestic problems of Pakistan. Pakistanis Foreign Minister, Cards Safes All, again visited Moscow from 3-5 July, 1994. During his visit, he held talks with his Russian counterpart, Andrei Kookier, and met other senior functionaries of the Russian government.

The two sides discussed a number of international and bilateral issues – the situation in South Asia, the Kashmir problem, Afghanistan and Central Asia including developments in Atkinson, and Bosnia. During the visit, the two foreign ministers signed a protocol on holding regular consultations between the foreign ministers of the two countries, and an agreement on the abolition of visas for holders of diplomatic passports. The signing of these two agreements signified the fact that Pakistan-Russia relations had come a long way from the animosity of the Cold War era.

On September 24, 1995, leader of the Russian Parliamentary delegation to Pakistan, Alexander Venomously, closed that Russia was ready to supply military hardware to Pakistan. He further said that Russian technology could find its way into many fields of Pakistani markets. The visit of former Prime Minister, Nazi Shari, to Moscow in April 1 999, was termed by the Russian President as ‘a new chapter in relations between the two countries oriented into the 21st Century.

Prime Minister Shari s visit, the first by a Pakistani premier in 25 years, may have broken the ice in bilateral relations, but the two sides failed to sign any further significant treaty, after the political treaty initialed in 1994. The only agreement reached was the creation of an inter-governmental commission for trade and economics. Russia and Pakistan signed a bilateral document on trade and economic cooperation to replace the 1956 agreement. Pakistan failed to elicit any further favorable response from their Russian counterparts regarding the increased sale of military hardware to Pakistan.

The Kremlin leaders could no longer ignore the basic ego-political fact that India remained by far the more important partner for it in South Asia in comparison with Pakistan, which had been a major partner of the Soviet Union during the days of the Cold War. The former Soviet Union had accounted for 60-70 % of the defense purchases made by India. Moscow itself was keen to retain India as the biggest purchaser of its defense equipment. Indian’s counter diplomatic moves had succeeded in limiting the defense deals with Pakistan.

However, both Russia and Pakistan, during Prime Minister Nazi Shari’s visit held similar views on many international issues, in particular, their ‘support to the non proliferation regime and the settlement of conflicts by political means’. Prime Minister Nazi Shari asked for Russian’s assistance for the resolution of out-standing problems of South Asia, such as he Kashmir dispute, saying that his government was ready to go on working in that direction, and expressed the desire that Russia should also promote the normalization of relations between the two major countries of the region.

Regarding Russian’s role in India-Pakistan relations, the Russian Foreign Minister, Igor Vivian, stated that Russia had fulfilled and continued to fulfill an important mission, aimed at the normalization of relations between India and Pakistan. Both sides spoke out in favor of asserting the principles of stability and security in the world, and expressed their commitment to the creation Of multi-polar world, based on the respect for the UN Charter and international law.

However, despite the interest evinced on both sides to establish a constructive and positive relationship, certain irritants continued to exert their negative influence against the establishment of cordial relations. Such as: the situation in Afghanistan, international terrorism, threat of desalination in Central Asia, transnational network of drug trafficking, Russian supply of arms to India and so forth. Hurdles in the Normalization of Relations The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December 1 979 set in motion a major stabilization process in the region.

The Afghan guerrilla warfare throughout the period of the Soviet occupation (1979-1990) brought in the open patronage of US-Died Western powers, which pumped in money and armaments to the Afghan resistance. After the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989, Afghanistan continues to remain mired in its internal civil war and its spill-over effects have led to grave repercussions in the Central Asian region, as well as in South Asia. The Afghanistan imbroglio continues to cast a heavy shadow over the relations between Russia and Pakistan. In the

Afghan conflict, Russia and Pakistanis interests’ were and remain at cross- purposes. Much of this is based on fears, suspicions and concerns about national security interests in the region. Pakistan would not like to have a hostile government on its western periphery as well, since it is already insecure visit—visit a hostile India on its eastern border. With the emergence of Islamic renaissance in Central Asia, Russia is fearful of further desalination in Central Asia, leading to its consequences being felt in Russia. Once more both Pakistan and Russia find themselves on two different sides of the fence.

Both have a stake in the outcome of the Afghan conflict. Moscow is concerned that should the Taliban consolidate their power by defeating the Northern Alliance under Mad Shah Mason, they will then support Islamic uprisings in Central Asia and beyond, thereby destabilize the entire region. This has partly happened. Russia blames the Taliban to be behind the uprising in Chaney and Datasets. To contain the spillover effect from further spreading throughout Russia via Central Asia, the Russians have been extending material and political support to the anti-Taliban coalition in Afghanistan.

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