Hopeful to increase military ties with Russia: PM Imran Khan
BISHKEK: Talking to a Russian news outlet today (Thursday), The Prime Minister of Pakistan expressed a desire to increase military ties with the country, ARY News reported.
Imran Khan, who reached Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan earlier in the day to attend the 19th meeting of the Council of the Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) said that he was happy with the burgeoning relation between Pakistan and Russia.
“This is not the 60’s, things have changed drastically from the past riddled with ‘cold war’,” said Khan.
Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan when asked about his expectations from his Bishkek trip and official meeting with the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin expressed hope to increase and strengthen defense relations with the former super power.
“Relations between the Pakistan Armed Forces and the Russian Military have increased manifold in the recent past and we would like to take it further,” anticipated Khan.
The Pakistani premier was asked if Pakistan was interested in buying weapons from Russia to which Imran Khan said that no such intention exists at present as the government is trying to stabalize economy back home.
“We are trying to focus on human development at the moment, the stand-off with India has observed gradual decrease for now ,” Khan answered.
Answering a question about potential meeting with the Russian premier, Khan said: “I would like to potentially visit Russia, I have visited once in the past and yes, I am probably going to meet the Russian leadership.”
“I will hopefully meet the Russian President Vladimir Putin during the meeting of the Council of the Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).”
Khan added that he had met the Russian premier in the past during his visit to China.
Discussing Pakistan’s relation with America in the context of India, Khan was of the opinion that both countries wanted comradery with US.
The status of delayed Iran-Pakistan pipeline was inquired about in the context of American curb on doing business or trade with the neighboring country.
PM Khan agreed that the project is on hold owing to the fact that American restrictions have been imposed on the Islamic Republic.
It was asked if there was a possibility to make visa restrictions less stringent between Russia and Pakistan to which Khan replied that the government has worked on bettering the visa troubles and policies to promote people to people connection between countries.
“We have reformed and are reforming the visa policies in Pakistan, now people can easily be issued visas at the airports and we are headed in the direction where restrictions will be lifted and more allowance will be created for people flying in or out of the country.
Khan revealed that an agreement has been reached with 70 countries whose citizens will be eligible for visas at the airport which is a first in the history of Pakistan.
The Pakistan premier flew to Bishkek on the invitation of Kyrgyz President Sooronbay Jeenbekov where he is scheduled to attend the two day SCO summit, address two sessions of the meeting and will also have bilateral interaction with other participating leaders on the sidelines.