Editor’s Note: The following report is excerpted from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin, the premium online newsletter published by the founder of WND. Subscriptions are $99 a year or, for monthly trials, just $9.95 per month for credit card users, and provide instant access for the complete reports.
WASHINGTON – As relations between the United States and Pakistan sour, ties between Russia and Pakistan quietly have been getting better over the past two years, according to a report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
Part of the issue has been Islamabad looking for new friends to substitute for the U.S. and partners of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
With the U.S. and NATO countries pulling out of neighboring Afghanistan by the end of next year, Moscow hasn’t wasted any time filling that void with Russian-initiated talks to include Pakistan, Tajikistan and Afghanistan.
In September, Russian President Vladimir Putin is to visit with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari.
The basis for Moscow’s initiative is more out of concern for Pakistan’s nuclear weapons arsenal, according to regional observers who see Pakistan, Iran and North Korea as destabilizing powers in the region.
In fact, Moscow wants Pakistan to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Moscow also sees that Pakistan will be playing a key role in what continues to be a deteriorating political situation in Afghanistan, especially after the U.S. and NATO leave.
Russia sees Pakistan as important to achieve its own foreign policy initiatives to make Afghanistan secure since it borders on Russia. The moves also would help Moscow extend its influence into Central Asia.
For this reason, sources say Moscow sees the need now to work on a bilateral basis at the presidential level with Pakistan much as it does with India.
Russia also is pushing for Pakistan’s accession to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, or SCO, which is also pleasing to Beijing, Islamabad’s close friend.
And Moscow hopes that by giving its support to this effort that China will back Moscow’s desire for India to join the SCO, although Beijing hasn’t yet shown the same level of backing.
Both Moscow and Beijing will be looking to the SCO, along with Pakistan and India, to be more directly involved in reshaping Afghanistan once the West has left.
Figuring into Moscow’s long-term equation are energy and economic opportunities in the region. Gazprom, the giant Russian energy conglomerate, plans on helping build the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India, or TAPI, gas pipeline, sources say.
At one time, these sources say, that pipeline was supposed to be a showcase for U.S. policy. However, with Russia taking the lead in pushing its construction, it can only enhance Moscow’s prestige among the participants, at the expense of U.S. credibility.
This not only includes an increase in trade but there is the prospect for military cooperation between the two countries, a development that will be watched closely by New Delhi and Beijing.
While Moscow has issues with Pakistan’s nuclear weapons and the fact that terrorists are trained in that country and could threaten portions of Russia, Putin has made a decision to reach out to Pakistan just at a time when Washington’s relations with Islamabad have soured.
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