Strategic Vision Institute, Islamabad (SVI) held an international conference on “Pakistan-Russia Relations Amid Transforming Global Order” on 21-22 November, 2023 in collaboration with Center for Energy and Security Studies (CENESS), Russia and Gorchakov Public Diplomacy Fund, Russia. The main objective of the International Conference was to promote greater understanding and good will among Pakistani and Russian scholars and experts.
Dr. Naeem A, Salik Executive Director, Strategic Vision Institute gave introductory remarks, followed by the introductory remarks from Dr. Daria Saprynskaya, Project Director, Gorchakov Public Diplomacy Fund, Russia and Dr. Anton Knlopkov, Director, Center for Energy and Security Studies (CENESS), Russia.
Key note address was delivered by the chief guest Lt. Gen. Khalid Ahmad Kidwai, NI, HI, HI (M), (R) Advisor, National Command Authority. He appreciated the initiative by SVI and hoped that this conference would lead to more frequent exchanges between the two sides.
He said that Russia and Pakistan respect each other’s sovereignty and strategic autonomy. However, Pakistan does hope that Russia carefully considers the repercussions of providing high-end military hardware to some countries in Pakistan’s neighbourhood on Pakistan’s security and regional stability.
Gen. Kidwai also highlighted Pakistan’s appreciation of President Putin’s strong stance against Islamophobia.
He added that the lack of resolution of long-standing disputes in South Asia, will ultimately lead to risks of miscalculation and miscommunication in a conflict situation.
He also talked about the importance of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and stringent measures Pakistan has put in place to ensure fool proof safety and security.
Speakers of the conference deliberated on Pakistan-Russia Relations in Transforming Global Order. Relationship between both countries are not existing in vacuum, both countries are celebrating 75 years of establishment of Diplomatic Relations, and are actively pursuing Joint Working Group on Combating International Terrorism and third shipment of crude oil has been shifted from Russia to Pakistan, which is very important to institutionalize energy cooperation.
But, sustainability of relationship between the two countries depend more on people-to-people connection.
Speakers were of the view that Russia and Pakistan are having difficulty in cooperation in nuclear technology because Russia is part of NSG and NPT and Pakistan has not signed NPT, neither has got NSG waiver. But, both countries could cooperate with each other in other peaceful applications including through the platform of IAEA, as both countries are members of IAEA.
On the issue of reducing nuclear risks at the time of conflict escalation, speakers said that the challenge in addressing nuclear risk lies not in the technology itself but in the tensions between states that employ nuclear threats as tools to achieve their political objectives.
Moreover, deliberate nuclear escalation or nuclear use is rare, however, the greater concern lies in inadvertent escalation. Therefore, to prevent nuclear war, the only way is to prevent any war at all.
Concluding address was given by Gen. Zubair Mahmood Hayat (R) NI (M), Former CJCSC. In his concluding remarks he said that relationship between both countries is based on a quest for a just, fair and equitable world. It is a quest for a common good and prosperity of both the nations.
He emphasized on the need of cooperation between the two states at all levels, including military, technological and people-to-people contacts. He also highlighted the importance of “soft power projection” and said that to have better relations, understanding of Russian culture is important, which can be achieved through the translation of Russian literature in Urdu and its dissemination all across Pakistan.
He concluded with remarks that both sides have come a long way since the end of the Cold War, and both can play a constructive role in transforming a world order.