20 Years of Leading Analysis
 
  • Will Mi-35M Helicopters Fly to Pakistan?

    1 Posted by: Petr Topychkanov November 26, 2014

    Тhe visits of high-ranking Russian officials to Pakistan, which I wrote about earlier, have continued this year. Russia’s Defense Minister, Sergey Shoigu, came to Islamabad last week as part of a 41-member delegation that included his deputies Anatoli Antonov, who is in charge of military technological cooperation, and Tatyana Shevtsova, whose responsibilities include financing the Russian Armed Forces.

    On November 20, Shoigu met Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, Defense Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Secretary Defense Muhammad Alam Khattak, and Defense Production Secretary Tanvir Tahir. The defense ministers signed the framework agreement on military cooperation between the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Defense of Islamic Republic of Pakistan. This document is supposed to lay a legal foundation for developing military and military technological cooperation between Russia and Pakistan.

    The visit highlighted the following vectors for bilateral relations in the military sphere:

    • Coordinating efforts to counteract international terrorism,
    • Coordinating efforts to combat drug trafficking,
    • Active exchange of delegations,
    • Participating in military exercises as observers,
    • Training military personnel,
    • Sharing expertise on peace-keeping, counterterrorist efforts, and combatting piracy.

    The parties paid particular attention to developing naval cooperation that includes joint naval exercises and Pakistani and Russian warship calls to each other’s ports. The possibility of drafting a memorandum on naval cooperation was also considered.

    In addition, the parties certainly discussed the prospects for bilateral military technological cooperation. However, contrary to some reports, they did not agree on the sale of Russia’s Mi-35M multi-role combat helicopters to Pakistan. These reports are based on the Russian Ambassador to Pakistan, Alexei Dedov’s, November 12 interview in which he said that the deal has been approved in principle. However, the parties have not yet agreed on the timeframe for the shipment, the number of helicopters to be shipped, their modification, as well as arming, equipping and subsequently servicing them.

    Meanwhile, lack of information on these issues draws some erroneous conclusions from some Indian experts. For example, in his interview to IHS Jane’s, the former Chief of Naval Staff of the Indian Navy, Admiral Arun Prakash, stated that “By offering to sell military equipment to Pakistan, the Russians are, in all probability, trying to arm-twist India from sourcing its defense requirements from alternate suppliers. Such tactics should not intimidate India's new administration.”

    With all due respect to Admiral Prakash, the deal on Mi-35M helicopters, if concluded, is not an attempt to pressure New Delhi. This possible deal has absolutely no anti-Indian motives.

    It should be remembered that India was not satisfied with Mi-35M performance during the 1999 Kargil conflict (it has a total of 20 Mi-35M helicopters). The helicopters were later substantially modernized with the help of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), which has prolonged their lifecycle. However, in 2012 India decided to acquire 22 American AH-64E Apache Guardian helicopters which better suited its requirements.

    In 2012, India has chosen American helicopters over the ones of Russia. The Mi-35M helicopters are of limited combat use in the mountainous terrain and under inclement weather conditions, especially if they are not equipped with the systems that IAI equipped the Indian helicopters with. The Mi-35M helicopters may be used in counterterrorist and rescue operations depending on how they are armed, although this issue has still not been cleared. However, their addition to the Pakistani Armed Forces will have no bearing on the balance of forces between India and Pakistan.

    Both the issue of the Mi-35M sale to Pakistan and other issues of military and military technological cooperation discussed during Shoigu’s visit to Islamabad suggest that this cooperation will be very specific. In the framework of their bilateral relations, Moscow and Islamabad are driven by concrete, pragmatic, and limited goals of combatting terrorism, drug trafficking, and piracy rather than attempts to pressure India, as Admiral Prakash believes. India remains Russia’s priority partner not only in the South Asia but in the world at large.

     
     
     
  • Russia and Germany: The Antipodes in the International System

    Posted by: Ulrich Speck Tuesday, November 25, 2014 2

    In character and attitude, Germany and Russia are the antipodes in today’s international system. That could explain perhaps both the closeness the two countries have felt for years and the growing confrontation which has come with the Ukraine crisis.

     
     
  • The Drivers of Russian Policy in the Post-Soviet Space

    Posted by: Maxim Suchkov Monday, November 24, 2014 1

    As Russia and the West enter a period of prolonged mutual resentment and distrust, the post-Soviet space remains the most volatile issue in their relationship.

     
     
  • “Nuclear Spring” in Russian-Iranian Relations

    Posted by: Nikolay Kozhanov Friday, November 21, 2014

    On November 11, Russia and Iran signed a package of documents paving the way for Moscow to construct up to eight nuclear power units. With this agreement, Russia and Iran have established a solid economic foundation for political dialogue.

     
     
  • Abkhazia: Deeper With Russia

    Posted by: Thomas de Waal Thursday, November 20, 2014 1

    With Russia—for better or worse. That is the message society in Abkhazia is receiving now that a new Abkhaz-Russian treaty has been drafted which could be signed as early as next week.

     
     
  • Weak Ruble Exchange Rate Represents Political Bargaining Challenge

    Posted by: Yuval Weber Wednesday, November 19, 2014

    The financial troubles of the ruble represent the most striking and dangerous strategic challenge facing the Russian state since the conflict in Ukraine began.

     
     
  • Turkey’s Strategy for Turkmenistan: What Is Behind Erdoğan’s Last Visit to Ashgabat?

    Posted by: Pavel Shlykov Tuesday, November 18, 2014 1

    Turkey sees the acute energy market competition as an opportunity to establish itself both as an influential energy state and as a central Eurasian power. In this regard, choosing Turkmenistan as the site of one of the first state visits by the new Turkish president was not accidental.

     
     
  • Frozen Donbas?

    Posted by: Balázs Jarábik Monday, November 17, 2014 2

    In Donbas, there is mostly a tactical operation aimed at reinforcing rebel positions, not preparation for a full-fledged war. The West may not have a better solution than to accept to freeze Donbas for the winter.

     
     
  • Pax Sinica: China and the New Russia

    Posted by: Akio Kawato Friday, November 14, 2014

    Pax Sinica has come. Countries in China’s orbit will be given security guarantees and trade preferences as long as they remain allegiant. Thus, the pivot to Asia will only drive Russia to unnecessary dependence on China.

     
     
  • Pakistan’s Minorities Under the Shadow of Fear

    Posted by: Petr Topychkanov Thursday, November 13, 2014

    Pakistani religious minorities live in fear. This fear can only abate through the Pakistani government’s consistent and tough policies directed at the softening of the blasphemy law and cracking down on any attempts of vigilante justice.

     
     

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