thesis is titled “India Factor in Pak-Russia Relations: Challenges and
Prospects”. Under said title, the researcher intends to study the evolving
relational dynamics between Russia and Pakistan keeping in view the India
factor and evaluating the challenges and prospects of Pak-Russia partnership.
1.1. Problem Statement
conflict between India and Pakistan carves out the political landscape of South
This dominant feature leads to absorption of external power rivalries and
meander them into bilaterally symmetric conflict going on between the two
historic adversaries i.e. Pakistan and India.2
Keeping in view the political history of relationship between Russia and
Pakistan, it can be said that the two states have often ended up presiding the
opposite sides in each conflicting scenario. The relation between these two
states has often been carved out as a by-product of the very nature of United
States of America (USA) relationship with Pakistan vis a vis India’s relationship
incepted in 1947- the critical era of Cold War at international level was going
on between two blocs i.e. United States of America (USA) and the then Soviet
Eventually, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan sought to visit USA,
hence posing pro-western foreign policy.
Pakistan’s India-consciousness, the West manipulated her up to its utility
throughout the past. Due to stringent conditions of Cold War, India could not
strictly maintain its non-aligned policy and inched closer to Soviet Union to
counter Pakistan-USA partnership. No matter, Russia and Pakistan had no bad
intentions towards each other but ultimately each of them was equally guilty of
forging closer ties with other’s adversary which widened the gap between
Pakistan and Russia.
At the end of
Cold War India thought that owing to outdated East-West rivalry, Russian
Federation has lost its urge to support India versus Pakistan.5
Meanwhile, Russia continued with a neutralized stance towards India as well as
Pakistan. After 9/11, Pakistan adopted anti-Taliban posture was warmly welcomed
This provided both states with a common ground upon which future bilateral relations
were to be nurtured.
However, in 2005, USA
and India entered into strategic partnership and finalized a civil nuclear
deal.7 The Indo-US nexus is in direct conflict with Russian
and Pakistani regional interests. Furthermore, increasing
amiability between USA and India left both, Pakistan and Russia, insecure. For this, Russia has extended fraternal ties towards
Pakistan, India’s historical adversary, to which Pakistan has equally
reciprocated. This development provides them with another major
outlook to kick start new avenues of cooperation with each other, hence
diluting the baggage of bitter past experiences.
However, it is rational
to mention here that global power center is now shifting to Asia and Russia
consciously realizes this strategic change. In the realm of defence
cooperation, both countries, Russia and Pakistan, can prove to be reliable
allies. Therefore, it is in Russia’s interest to forge new alliances in the
region. It can, thus, be concluded that Russia and Pakistan are foreseeing an
unprecedented era of convergence between them. Though still in a nascent stage,
it signals a promising prospect for both, Russia and Pakistan. However, India’s
role and response towards this development would be another aspect of this
In this study, it is
aimed to chalk out feasibility for Pakistan that how can it maintain peace with
past allies vis a vis extend new friendships at the same time. It would be
introspected that how the constructed realities (India-Russia bonhomie) would
be sublimed and new records (Pak-Russia fraternal ties) would be forged. After
going through extensive literature, it has been concluded that India-Russia
relationship is over-rated. Moreover, little has been written over prospects of
constructive Pak-Russia relationship. Most of the writers ignore the fact that
there are no permanent friends or foe in international relations, what remain
supreme is the national interest of a state. This research is intended to add
up literature upon the future of Pak-Russia relations, but in a constructive
way and not beating the bush regarding bitter past.
1.2. Literature Review
titled ‘Pak-Russia Relations: Lost Opportunities and Future Options’ written by
Nazir Hussain provides a critical analysis of historical factors that greatly
moulded Pak-Russia relations.8 The merit of this article is that the author,
after drawing lessons from the past, has carved out future policy options that
need to be adopted by Pakistan in emerging geo-strategic environment.
titled ‘Pakistan-Russia Relations: Progress, Prospects and Constraints’ written
by M Hanif gives a brief account of Pak-Russia relations. The author has
chalked out many recommendations for mending ties between two states in the
face of strong opposition posed by USA and India. However, the only demerit of
this article lie in the fact that author did not pen-out the ways to workout with
the past grievances effectively.
Chandra Rekha in
one of her article titled ‘Is Russia Mending its Ties with Pakistan at India’s
Cost?’ has introspected the reasons behind Russian recent tilt towards Pakistan
as well as successfully quantifies the cost that would be inflicted upon India
in its backdrop.9
Moreover, she opines that Russia is successfully engaging three Asian powers
i.e. India, China and Pakistan, in order to drive its ‘Pivot to Asia’ strategy
effectively. The author proves to be quite optimistic towards maturity of
Russia to accommodate each power with in their sphere of interests.
titled ‘The Russia-Pakistan Rapprochement: Should India Worry?’ by Uma
Purushothaman critically analysis recent Pak-Russia rapprochement.10 No
matter, the author aanticipates Russia to play a constructive role for
neutralizing tensions between India and Pakistan. Nevertheless, the author
failed to gauge the Indian eagerness to use its Russian card for minimizing
tensions with Pakistan. Moreover, the author did not keep into account Indian
stubbornness throughout during the process of mediations in the past.
Korybko, a Russian analyst, acknowledges the increasing geostrategic importance
of Pakistan in his article titled ‘Pakistan is the “Zipper” of Pan-Eurasian
Integration’.11 He acclaims that Russia
aims to develop ties with Pakistan in full spectrum. It greatly aspires to
integrate Pakistan in the multipolar Eurasian Union framework, the idea which
is being materialized under Russia and China strategic partnership. The strength
of this article lies in its optimistic view towards Pak-Russia partnership.
However, the author could not devise practical precautions for Russia to
minimize its wariness towards Russia’s growing bonhomie with Pakistan.
1.3. Theoretical Framework
According to realist school of thought of
international relations among states, there are neither permanent friends nor
permanent foes. What remains intact and supreme is the national interest of the
states. For successfully pursuing ones national interests, states go for
internal balancing i.e. power maximization, or external balancing, i.e.
184.108.40.206. Application of Theory
of the developments along with changing regional dynamics led the Pakistan
foreign policy maker to revisit their options and decisions. In the meantime,
Russia overtured towards Pakistan in order to checkmate USA influence in the
region. Pakistan and Russia soon realized that it is inevitable to ignore each
other and hence started working towards exploring avenues of cooperation. Later, Russia and Pakistan found a plenty of
converging interest, at bilateral and international level, between them. Here,
they worked together to shed the baggage of historical bitterness and searching
new avenues of cooperation in order to conjointly deal with the shared challenges.
However, outside forces are working hard to highlight their past worst
experiences to minimize their chances of future bonhomie. Nevertheless, Russia
and Pakistan are nurturing their ties up to the level of maturity, hence
blurring the past perceptions and building constructive and mutually beneficial
1.4. Significance of Study
regional dynamics has brought two historical opponents, Russia and Pakistan,
closer to each other. Both states have adopted afresh posture towards each
other. They are looking forward to exploit new avenues of cooperation.
Meanwhile, a lot of factors provide substantive pretext to each state for
forging closer ties with each other in the emerging new geo-political scenario
in the region. While, Pakistan is over done with USA policy to ‘use and abuse’
and now wants to broaden up its regional options. On the other hand, Russia
witnessed that its traditional strategic partner is now more tilted towards USA
and west. Moreover, Russia has realized that only relying on its sole partner
in the region, India, will not pay off in the emerging geopolitical scenario.
So, Russia is also on its endeavor to expand its regional options. As witnessed
by the researcher, there exist piles of literature over Pak-Russia historical
grievances, however, little has been written to chalk out prospects of intimate
relationship that lie in converging regional and international interests of
both states. This research is intended to present a literary contribution for
future foreign policy formulation. It is aimed to shift the focus of Pakistan
relatively away from western allies towards new eastern allies like Russia.
1.5. Research Questions
v Why Indian factor plays a pivotal role in Pak-Russia
How Pak-Russia relations have evolved
Which factors catalyze Pak-Russia
How Russia is likely to balance her
relations with India and Pakistan?
Why India is wary towards Pak-Russia
What are the challenges and prospects
of Pak-Russia relations?
factor plays an important role for bringing Pakistan and Russia closer’.
1.7. Research Methodology
This research is
exploratory and descriptive in nature. Deeply discussing the type of research,
it is analytical, empirical, quantitative, qualitative and applied research in
The methods and
techniques adopted by researcher includes reading, critically analyzing,
deconstructing already available literature; analyzing content of statements
issued by Foreign Office and important state representatives; interviewing (In-depth
as well as E-interview) participants in order to get feedback from experts
having deep insight on this topic and attending seminar and conferences in
order to get view point of experts in Academia.
1.8. Motivation in Research
The motivation behind opting this topic is majorly
intrinsic. Pakistan and Russia conducted their first joint military exercise,
named Druzhba-2016, meaning Friendship-2016. The Russian contingent reached
Pakistan in spite of India’s unease and allegations on Pakistan for instigating
Uri attack. This development blew a fresh soul into Pak-Russia relations. The
researcher got intrigued to introspect the new dimensions of this emerging
partnership. Moreover, the researcher wanted to calculate the Indian response
and role regarding this development.
1.9. Aims and Objectives in Research
To explore the historical bitter experiences that
majorly carved out the Pakistan and Russia relations throughout the past,
drawing them apart. Moreover, the role played by India, throughout history,
would also be introspected.
To describe underlying factors behind recent bonhomie
between Russia and Pakistan, particularly starting from the year 2010. As well
as, it is intended to describe India’s reaction towards this development.
To diagnose the current underlying factors those are
working as a catalyst to bring Pakistan and Russia even closer, particularly
the India factor.
v Avoiding errors
In order to avoid over generalized approach and
illogical reasoning towards the relationship of Pakistan and Russia, since
history to till date. This would help out to neutralize past bitterness,
misperceptions and provide constructive avenues for cooperation in future.
1.10. Data Collection
Primary data will be generated by conducting
interviews (in-depth) with the professionals having expertise and keen
perceptiveness. My personal observations and experience will also be included
in primary data.
Secondary data will be collected through books,
journal articles, articles from newspapers and data bases from think
Andrew Korybko is a political analyst as well as
contributor to several online journals. Also, he is member of expert council
for the Institute of Strategic Studies and Predictions at the People’s
Friendship University of Russia. His area of expertise includes Russian affairs
and geopolitics, specifically the US strategy in Eurasia.
Peter Krasnopolsky is an expert on Russia studies. Currently, he is
pursuing his Phd from the University of Nottingham, Ningbo, China.
Chandra Rekha is an
Indian expert on Indo-Russia relations. Currently, she is a Research Associate
at the Centre for Air Power Studies (CAPS), New Delhi.
Officials from Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan.
1.12. Ethical Issues
Following ethical issues would be taken into
consideration and minimizing them would be ensured:
Voluntary and informed consent of the participants will be ensured.
Ascertained anonymity and confidentiality of person/institution, if
asked, for the period of five to seven years.
It will be assured that no harm is caused to participant, of any nature,
ranging from professional, ethical, moral, social well-being, alike.
Ethics for Academic Community will be strictly followed.