Russia and Pakistan were adversaries during the days of the cold war when Pakistan was an ally of the USA. The famous U-2 spy flight had taken off from the Pakistan base of Peshawar with Gary Powers. At that time the Soviets were close to #India and in 1970 had signed a defense and cooperation agreement with it. Pakistan was firm with the USA and much of the US aid to the Taliban was channeled through Pakistan to fight the Soviet army.

Re-alignment of forces

The cold war has gone and there is a re-alignment of geopolitical forces in South Asia. India has cut many of its strings with Russia, the successor state of the USSR and moved closer into a strategic partnership with the USA. The Russians, having lost an important ally obviously decided to befriend Pakistan. They started by selling the MI-35 attack helicopter to Pakistan, despite Indian objections. They have also decided to enhance #military cooperation with Pakistan. Pakistan is happy at this new found friendship as its relations with the USA have soured over playing a double game in Afghanistan against US interests.

The Russians are now having a joint military exercise with the Pakistan army. This is a first and no Russo-Pak military exercise has ever taken place before. As per reports about 70 troops of the mountain division, have landed in Pakistan for the exercise. India had expected that the Russians will call off their military exercise with Pakistan after the Uri terror attack by fedayeen who India alleges have come from Pakistan. 19 Indian soldiers were killed. 

Russo-Pak military exercise

Russia has brushed aside Indian susceptibilities on this and gone ahead with the joint military exercise. They have only stated that the exercise is not being held in Pakistan occupied Kashmir. Russia has not forsaken India completely as another exercise is being conducted with 250 Indian troops in the Far East of Russia.

The significance of this military exercise with Pakistan can not be underrated as it signals a re-alignment of forces and powers in Asia. There is a possibility of a Russo- Chinese - Pak axis to oppose the USA-India - Japan military cooperation.