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Friday Jun 14 2019

PM Imran, Russian President Vladimir Putin held several informal discussions at SCO meeting

BISHKEK: Prime Minister Imran Khan and Russian President Vladimir Putin held several informal discussions as they attended the 19th Meeting of the Council of the Heads of State (CHS) of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).

The two world leaders were engaging in conversation on several occasions. Of world leaders present at the SCO meeting, Prime Minister Imran Khan interacted with President Putin the most.  

During lunch today, Prime Minister Imran Khan and Russian President Vladimir Putin also sat next to each other and continued to be engaged in conversation. 

PM Imran Khan, Russian President Vladimir Putin seated next to each other during lunch.  

PM Imran Khan and Putin were also seen standing next to each other during photo sessions. 

Yesterday, Prime Minister Imran Khan and Russian President Vladimir Putin held an informal discussion during a dinner Kyrgyzstan president in honour of heads of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

During the dinner hosted by Kyrgyzstan President Sooronbay Jeenbekov, the Pakistan premier and President Putin shook hands and inquired about the well-being of each other, according to sources.

In an interview to Russian news agency Sputnik, Prime Minister Imran Khan said that his government has been mulling purchase of arms from Moscow, given the fact that the Cold War was long over.

Asked about military cooperation between Pakistan and Russia and joint drills later this year, he said they had developed cooperation with Russia, between their defence forces, and hoped to deepen their contacts.

"Most of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s were spent in the Cold War region, where India was close to the Soviet Union, and Pakistan was close to the United States. We were in different camps. Now things have changed," the Pakistan premier said.

"India is also friendly with the United States, and Pakistan is also friendly with the US. So we no longer have the Cold War situation. It is refreshing that we have developed our contacts with Russia, and they are developing all the time."

Responding to a question about the import of Russian weapons, he said, "As I’ve said, once the Cold War was over. Previously Pakistan was tied to the US, and, as we all know, India was tied to the Soviet Union. And no longer is that situation there. First, we hope that our tension with India decreases, so we do not have to buy arms because we want to spend money on human development".

"But, yes, we are looking for arms from Russia, and I know our military is already in touch with the Russian military," Khan commented.

Regarding the prospects of Pak-Russia cooperation within the SCO, he said they look forward to have exchanges, develop more contacts and improve their trade.

"Russia is an energy-surplus country. Pakistan has shortages in energy, so we hope to talk on those areas. We already are. Apart from defence, we want to also improve our trade in other areas with Russia," the prime minister said.

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