Pakistan Turns to Russia and China after US Military Aid Freeze – Defence Minister
Pakistan is deepening its relationships with Russia and China, country's Defence Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan has said, as the fallout continues from the US decision to suspend $2bn in military aid to Islamabad.
«We have already bought some Russian helicopters in the past three years. This is what we call a regional recalibration of Pakistan's foreign and security policy. It’s because of the unfortunate choice the United States continues to make», he said.
Asked about reports that Islamabad could buy a batch of Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets from Russia, Mr Khan said «not yet», but added: «We have opened a dialogue with Russia, which traditionally we have never had, because we were firmly in the western camp».
Recall that the US said this month that it would suspend security assistance to Pakistan worth $2bn because of what Washington sees as Islamabad's refusal to do enough to tackle terrorism, particularly around the Afghan border. Earlier this month President Donald Trump tweeted that Pakistan had taken $33bn of US aid over 15 years and given back «nothing but lies and deceit».
Mr Khan called his comments «deeply offensive» and «counterproductive». In response to a statement by Trump Islamabad has already stopped sharing key parts of the intelligence it gathers from close to Afghanistan with the US.