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Putin Rejects Invitation To Visit Pakistan

Russian President Vladimir Putin has turned down the invitation to visit Pakistan for inauguration of the North-South Pipeline Project with Moscow emphasizing that there was not enough substance in this trip.

This comes as the recent bonhomie between both sides has not lasted long despite Pakistan's plans to buy armament, including aircraft from Russia, and signing of a number of bilateral agreements and setting up of the high-level consultative mechanism between Islamabad and Moscow Strategic Dialogue between their respective Foreign Ministers, Joint Working Group on counter terrorism etc.

The high-level visits were being projected as demonstrating the new level of friendship and enhanced engagement between the two countries. The exchange of high profile visits by leaders of the two nations that raised Pakistan's hopes of becoming a close ally of Russia did not persist. The assumption that Moscow was actively developing ties with Islamabad, particularly in trade and counter terrorism, seems to have belied the general expectations.

Besides this, over 100 Pakistani businessmen, who had visited Russia to participate in an exhibition, were detained earlier on March 26 by the Immigration Authorities in Moscow and subsequently deported back apparently due to visa issues. The Pakistani diplomats in Moscow had a very tough time in getting consular access to them. The cold shoulder being given by Russia to Pakistan is indicative of the underlying lack of trust between both sides, carried on from the days of the Cold War era.

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