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PAKISTAN WANTS TO BUY MILITARY SUPPLIES FROM RUSSIA AND CHINA AFTER U.S. FUNDING FREEZE

http://www.newsweek.com/pakistan-russia-china-military-supplies-us-funding-793258



BY CARLOS BALLESTEROS ON 1/28/18 AT 2:31 PM

 


As the relationship between the United Sand Pakistan continues to deteriorate, signs of a formidable axis in Central Asia emerges.

In an interview with the Financial Times published on Sunday, Pakistan's defense minister Khurram Dastgir Khan said his country was undergoing a "regional recalibration" of its "foreign and security policy."

Part of that regional recalibration involves Pakistan reaching out to Russia and China for new military supplies.

“The fact that we have recalibrated our way towards better relations with Russia, deepening our relationship with China, is a response to what the Americans have been doing," he said.

Khan's comments come three weeks after Beijing revealed it would build an offshore naval base near Gwadar Port in the Pakistani province of Balochistan.

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Earlier this month, the Trump administration announced it would cut all security aid to Pakistan because the country has failed to undermine terrorist networks within its borders.

"The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than $33 billion in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies and deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools," President Donald Trump tweeted on January 1.

"They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!"

Khan, who has served as Pakistan's defense minister since August 2017, said Trump's comments were “deeply offensive” and “counterproductive."

Immediately after Trump's disparaging tweet, both Beijing and Moscow issued strong statements in support of Pakistan.

"We must value Pakistan's important role on the Afghanistan issue, and respect Pakistan's sovereignty and reasonable security concerns," China's top diplomat Yang Jiechi told Secretary of State Rex Tillerson over the phone, according to Chinese media.

Russia's envoy to Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov echoed Jiechi's remarks, telling reporters that pressuring Pakistan "may seriously destabilize the region-wide security situation and result in negative consequences for Afghanistan," adding that Russia views Pakistan as “a key regional player to negotiate with.”

Pakistani military personnel stand beside short-range Surface to Surface Missile NASR during Pakistan Day military parade in Islamabad, Pakistan, March 23, 2017.REUTERS/FAISAL MAHMOOD

Islamabad had already begun pivoting towards China and Russia before Trump's January tweet.

In April 2017, Pakistan's foreign minister Khawaja Asif said his country should begin to diplomatically move away from the U.S. and align itself with its powerful neighbors.

“China lives next to us and we have a common wall,” Asif told a seminar in Islamabad, broadcaster Dawn News reported. “Russia can also be our good friend

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