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Pakistan in talks with Russia to buy air defense system: Dastgir

MOSCOW: Defense Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan has said the government is in talks with Russia to acquire Russian air defense system and S-35 fighter jets.

In an interview with Russia’s Sputnik news agency here, the minister said: “Air defense system is a different kind of weapon we are interested. We are very much interested in a very wide range of the Russian weapons technology. We are in negotiations [on air defense systems] and once we conclude negotiations, we will be able to announce them.”

He said Pakistan is also interested in acquiring Russian T-90 tanks as “long-term commitment instead of a single purchase.”

“Pakistan and Russia may reach an agreement on Islamabad purchasing Russian Su-35 jets in the next few years and the talks on the issue are in their early stages,” Khan told the interviewer.

Talking about prevailing situation in Afghanistan, he said:  “We respect Afghanistan’s sovereignty. Stability in Afghanistan is important for Pakistan to be able to develop its own prosperous future, to access to the Russian market, for example, by land route. Democratic and stable Afghanistan is in deep interest of both Russia and Pakistan.”

Dwelling on defense and security cooperation, Khan said Islamabad looks forward to expanding defense cooperation with Russia in all areas, including military training, procuring equipment and sharing intelligence, Pakistani Defense Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan told Sputnik in an interview on Thursday.

“In the defense field, we signed a historical unprecedented Pakistan-Russia defense agreement in 2014. As a result, we have been able to conduct joint exercises, Pakistan has purchased Russian helicopters Mi-35 and now we are looking at much wider range of defense cooperation. In terms of training, Pakistani officers are coming to Russia and Russian officers are going to the Pakistani facilities for training. We are also now discussing a wider range of military exercises, we are looking at a wider range of military equipment and intelligence sharing,” Khan said on the sidelines of the Moscow Conference on International Security (MCIS).

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