Pakistan and Russia signed defence agreement that includes the sale of four Mi-35 helicopters

Aug 20, 2015 13:53 IST

Pakistan and Russia on 19 August 2015 signed a landmark defence agreement that includes the sale of four Mi-35 Hind E attack helicopters to Pakistan. The agreement was signed by top defence officials from Pakistan and Russia in Rawalpindi.

The Mi-35 helicopter is an exceedingly modernised version of the Mi-24 (Hind) combat helicopter with new onboard equipment and avionics. It also has a more powerful engine and a different tail rotor.

Both countries were negotiating for this deal since 2014. It is after the visit of the Chief of Pakistan Army Staff General Raheel Sharif to Russia in June 2015, that Russia sent a draft contract for the delivery of four Mi-35M Hind E combat helicopters to Pakistan.

The signing of agreement signals a major thaw in relations between the two Cold War rivals. Earlier in November 2014, Pakistan and Russia had signed a bilateral defence cooperation agreement aimed at strengthening military-to-military relations.

Pakistan-Russia relations

The Soviet Union (Russia) and Pakistan first established the diplomatic and bilateral relations on 1 May 1948. For the most of the Cold War, the Soviet Union relations with Pakistan have seen ups and downs during the different periods of Pakistan.

In 1947-50s, Soviet Union enjoyed relatively healthy and strong relations with Pakistan when it was under the civilian control but the relations went ultimately cold soon after the U.S.-backed 1958 military coup. In the mid 1970s, the relations were quickly improved and warmed.

The last time when the Russian Defence Minister visited Pakistan was in November 2014, first time in 45 years. The last visit took place as far back as 1969, when USSR Defence Minister Andrey Grechko visited Pakistan.

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