Pakistani Prime Minister Khan covered a wide range of issues during his exclusive interview with Sputnik, but the main points were that his country has changed a lot since the Old Cold War, desires nothing more than peace with India as soon as possible pending the democratic resolution of the Kashmir Conflict, and is extremely eager to intensify all manner of relations with Russia including through military cooperation and tarnsregional connectivity initiatives.
Another milestone was reached in the Russian-Pakistani Strategic Partnership after Prime Minister Khan gave an exclusive interview to Sputnik ahead of the SCO Summit in Bishkek. The South Asian leader covered a wide range of issues with his interlocutor, but his main points focused on the emerging Multipolar World Order, the democratic resolution of the Kashmir Conflict, and the global pivot state‘s full-spectrum expansion of relations with Russia. What follows is a brief summary of the interview divided into three topical categories, under which are concise analyses about each of the main ideas that the Prime Minister put forth:
The World System
* Naya Pakistan Isn’t The Pakistan Of Old:
PM Khan reminded his audience on two separate occasions that Pakistan’s previous reliance on the US is no longer the case and that his country is now actively diversifying its partnerships all across the world, including through opening up and making it much easier for foreigners to visit the South Asian state visa-free or by simply receiving their visa at the airport.
* Pakistan Wants To Be A Global Peacemaker:
Pakistan knows the horrors of war very well after suffering so much from three wars with India and the prolonged terrorist crisis that followed the last one, so it’s against joining any military coalition and instead wants to play the role of a global peacemaker in order to bring people together and prevent others from suffering as well.
* PM Khan Is A Self-Proclaimed Idealist When It Comes To Peace And Anti-Poverty Initiatives:
At the very end of the interview, PM Khan acknowledged that he’s an idealist when it comes to believing in world peace and fighting poverty, which he earlier hinted are interconnected after telling his interlocutor that Pakistan would prefer to have peace with India so that both countries could then invest in lifting their people out of poverty and improving the quality of their lives.
* India’s Anti-Pakistan Election Hysteria Made Peace Impossible Until After The Vote:
There was no realistic chance that PM Khan’s Indian counterpart would accept his many peacemaking outreaches before the election given the virulent anti-Pakistan hysteria that he and his party were ginning up for votes, though the unprecedented opportunity now presents itself for Modi to use his enormous mandate to justify entering into dialogue with his country’s neighbor instead of saber-rattling against it.
* The Kashmir Conflict Can Only Be Resolved By Holding The UN-Mandated Referendum On Its Future:
PM Khan pointed out that India’s use of force against the Kashmiris and its refusal to implement the UN-mandated referendum on their future has contributed to some of the oppressed population’s radicalization and risks turning the region into a future source of instability on the continent, which is why New Delhi must immediately give those captive people their promised right to self-determination.
* Russia Could Conceivably Help Mediate Between Pakistan And India:
The Pakistani leader didn’t directly answer the question of whether Russia could become the intermediary that he’s seeking with India but he did say that his country “is looking for any kind of mediation” so it’s very possible that Moscow could play this role, especially since it publicly expressed its willingness to do so during their recent tensions as part of its “Return to South Asia” despite India dishonestly dismissing this out of hand.
* PM Khan Is Eager To Meet President Putin And Would Like To Visit Russia Sometime Soon:
PM Khan expressed his eagerness to hold an informal chat with President Putin at the SCO Summit and hopefully visit Russia sometime soon as bilateral relations enter their best-ever period in history, which is largely due to both countries simultaneously seeking to diversify their ties from their previous Western dependence and is most visibly seen through their cooperative efforts in supporting the Afghan peace process.
* Military Ties Still Lie At The Center Of The Russian-Pakistani Strategic Partnership:
The security-centric approach that originally inspired the Russian-Pakistani rapprochement in the first place is still the driving factor in their nascent strategic partnership, with PM Khan speaking very highly about the potential for further military cooperation between these two Great Powers but nevertheless hoping that the regional situation will improve so his country can invest in poverty-alleviating development projects instead.
* The RuPak Railway Is The Best Chance To Improve Russian-Pakistani Economic Relations:
Pakistan is prepared to expand its strategic partnership with Russia into the economic domain by directly linking with its Great Power counterpart through the prospective RuPak Railway project via Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan, which explains the long-term vision behind their anti-terrorist cooperation and diplomatic coordination with Afghanistan and proves that N-CPEC+ is as viable of a vision as ever.
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