Here it is a bit modified and extended.
Russia has rubbished Pakistan's claims that it has requested
to join the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
According to the Russian news agency TASS, the Russian
Foreign Ministry has not initiated any negotiation on joining CPEC, the $46
billion mega project that Pakistan sees as the next big thing in the nation's
history that will transform it into a hub a regional and economic activity in
this part of Asia.
In a flat denial that highlighted 'secret talks', the
Russian Foreign Ministry said, "Reports on the ‘secret talks’ between
Russia and Pakistan on implementing the projects within the framework of the
China-Pakistan Economic Corridor that have appeared in the Pakistani media are
not true. The TASS report added that any possibility of Russia’s involvement to
this initiative has not been discussed with Islamabad.
Pakistan recently accepted Russia's request to use Gwadar
port for its exports. And today's clarification by Russia says it was limited
to the use of Gwadar port as a strategic trade stopover only. That means all
the big talks in the Pakistani establishment and media about Russia joining
CPEC were nothing but cooked up propaganda stories.
Perhaps, the Pakistani media reports follow the claims of
its prime minister and president. Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif, during
his Turkmenistan visit last week, had claimed that may countries including
Russia had shown willingness to join CPEC and he welcomed the Russian initiative.
His words were echoed by the President of Pakistan Mamnoon Hussain who said
that the Russian interest showed significance of the project. Reiterating the
Pakistani establishment's version, Pakistan Foreign Office Spokesperson Nafees
Zakaria yesterday said that 'Russia had shown a keen interest to boost
its relations with Pakistan'.
Pakistani media had picked up these clues and had widely
reported on Russia joining CPEC. A report in The Nation went on to the extent
to claim that Alexander Bogdanov, Federal Security Services chief, had made a
secret visit to Pakistan, the first visit by any Russian intelligence chief in
14 years, during which he had forwarded the Russian request to join CPEC.
Interestingly, according to The Nation report, the Russian request was accepted
and the Gwadar Port permission was given under this only. Geo News in its
coverage said that after the Gwadar Port access, Russia also wanted to join the
CPEC to 'reap the maximum dividends'.
All those claims, by Pakistani leaders as well as by its
media, proved a bunch of lies today. Russia is India's oldest defence partner
and was also the largest one, when seen on annual trade figures, until it was
overtake by the US in 2014. Now with big defence deals signed between Russia
and India during Russian President Vladimir Putin's India visit in October
2016, Russia is there again and it would never want to lose the big opportunity
that India's $100 billion defence upgade provides.
India is opposed to CPEC because a part of it passes through
Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir. For strategic reasons also, India doesn't welcome a
Chinese presence just across the border in a disputed territory that India
considers its own. Prime minister Narendra Modi has conveyed these concerns to
Chinese President Xi Jinping.