In today’s world, terrorism has become a complex global phenomenon that mandates a unified response and international cooperation. This menance is not limited to any one country, rather stretches across regions and beyond. Pakistan has always made earnest efforts to not only successfully combat this threat at home, but has always cooperated with regional countries and international community to forge durable peace. In the same drive, recently a joint training exercise Druzhba-III was conducted between Pakistan and Russia, the 3rd exercise in the series as a part of Pak-Russia bilateral training cooperation. The first exercise took place in Pakistan in 2016 while the second in 2017 in Russia. The focus of the exercise was counter-terrorism training of the Special Operation Forces of Pakistan and Ground Forces of the Russian Federation while exchanging mutual counter-terrorism experiences.
In a world in transition – with the world order shifting from unipolar to multipolar – the region of South and Central Asia is significant. With Russia added to the equation of an already powerful alliance between China and Pakistan, the old patterns of global dominance are being reshaped. Given its geostrategic location, Pakistan has a significant role to play and the countries in the region find themselves relying on Pakistan for strategic reasons. Pakistan being the second-largest Muslim country, with its powerful Armed Forces, enormous resources and a significant geostrategic location, is an important stakeholder for peace and progress in the region and beyond. The changes that have taken place in the strategic environment also provide new opportunities to us all to play a new and greater role towards regional and world peace.
Pakistan is always willing to cooperate with any country that promotes stability, peace and progress. These joint exercises are seen as another step in growing military-to-military cooperation, indicating a steady growth in the relationship between the regional countries. Pakistan Armed Forces have achieved significant successes in the war on terror and Russia believes in Pakistan’s indispensability as a counter-terrorism partner in Afghanistan as well as in the region. As the regional peace stakeholders Pakistan, China and Russia are on the same page on the Afghanistan issue as they make efforts for a political solution to the long-running conflict. Pakistan considers Russia as a key regional player in the new scheme of things in order to offset the negative fallout of any adverse changes taking place in the region.
There have been greater exchanges between Pakistan and other important regional countries in recent years, strengthening a bond that is based on converging economic and strategic interests, cultural commonalities and geographical proximity. The military cooperation is also expected to play a role in bringing peace and stability. Greater ties with China, Russia and other countries are expected to translate into economic growth and enhanced cooperation on matters of regional stability and security, tackling the menace of terrorism in the region, increased access to military equipment market, and cooperation in various sectors ranging from agriculture to energy. New avenues of land and sea-based linkages can be opened up and explored across the entire region, bolstering the economic growth and geographical connectivity, and bringing the region together with new energy corridors.
With the agreement between Pakistan and China to formally invite third-country investors to be a part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and adding socioeconomic and regional development schemes to the existing CPEC projects, CPEC, while promoting inclusiveness, is expected to usher in a new era of trade and development.
In greater regional connectivity and enhanced diplomacy lies the future prosperity. We stand committed and support regional alliances that will help in bringing durable peace, prosperity and stability to the region and beyond.
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