Russian envoy to Pakistan Alexey Dedov on Wednesday said that the MI-35 helicopter deal with Moscow and Islamabad is “politically approved”.
In an interview with Radio Pakistan, Dedov said that Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoygu will visit Islamabad soon, adding that the deal between Pakistan and Russia will help combat terrorism.
While Dedov said the deal has been “politically approved”, further negotiations on details of the political-commercial contract are in progress.
Pakistan’s request for MI-35 helicopters has been on the table since 2009, but Russia had kept the issue pending because of the Indian factor.
India had long been Russia’s ‘exclusive military technical cooperation partner’. However, Moscow has reportedly downgraded that status to ‘preferred partner’ after India diversified its defence procurements and increasingly began relying on Western sources for meeting its hardware requirements. Russia has, meanwhile, reviewed its policy of selling military equipment to Pakistan.
Ambassador Dedov, however, had earlier maintained that there was no ban on selling defence equipment to Pakistan.
MI-35s are multi-purpose military transport helicopters which can be used for combat missions.
The Pakistan government has been saying that it genuinely needed these helicopters for counter-terrorism operations.
And with the successful launch of the Shaheen-II missile, Pakistan reinforces its independence of the US.
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