Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari visited Russia earlier this month for broad-ranging strategic talks. In an email interview, Rouben Azizian, a professor at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, discussed Russia-Pakistan relations.
WPR: What is the recent history of Pakistan-Russia relations?
Rouben Azizian: For decades, Moscow and Islamabad viewed each other as adversaries because of the Cold War's impact on South Asia, Russia's special relations with India and the U.S.-Pakistan alliance. The withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan briefly opened the door for improved bilateral relations, but Pakistan's support for the Taliban government in Afghanistan and the presence of Chechen militants on Pakistani territory quickly ended the thaw. At the same time, Russia has been increasingly uncomfortable with India's rapprochement with the United States and realizes the potentially damaging implications of India's diversifying foreign relations for Russo-Indian partnership.