Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 222

The government of Pakistan on November 28 decried a series of new arms deals between Russia and India and warned that the provision of sophisticated weaponry by Moscow to New Delhi could worsen tensions in South Asia. “We note with disappointment that Russia, despite being one of the G-8 countries which is allegedly committed to nonproliferation, is now becoming party to an aggravation of the strategic balance in South Asia,” Pakistani Foreign Secretary Shamshad Ahmad said (Xinhua, November 28).

The Pakistani minister’s statements come as Russia and India complete negotiations on a major accord which will extend by ten years–to 2010–an earlier military-technical cooperation agreement between the two countries. Moreover, India recently indicated its intention to buy an additional ten Su-30 jets from Russia–in addition to forty which are to be delivered under an earlier contract. New Delhi is said also to be considering the purchase of Russian T-90 tanks and a host of other types of military hardware (Itar-Tass, November 17).

Russian President Boris Yeltsin was to have traveled to India this week to sign the military cooperation agreement, but postponed the trip for health reasons. Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov will hold talks in India on December 20-23, it was announced yesterday, but it is unclear whether he will sign the military cooperation agreement in Yeltsin’s stead.

Primakov will sign what has been portrayed as a major agreement on the “development of trade, [and] economic, industrial, financial and scientific- technical cooperation between Russia and India until the year 2010.” That document was initialed by the two sides in Moscow on November 28 during a meeting of a Russian-Indian cooperation commission. The commission’s Russian co-chair is First Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Maslyukov (Itar-Tass, December 1).