Pak to buy four MI 35 attack helicopters from Russia


Islamabad: Russia has agreed to sell four MI 35 attack helicopters to Pakistan, the government said today, the first major defence deal between the two Cold War-era adversaries.

The agreement was signed during the visit of army chief General Raheel Sharif to Russia in June when he met top defence officials.

A Pakistani defence official said that the deal will boost Pakistan's fight against militancy.

The exact price and delivery of the choppers is not known but the two sides are working on the details to complete the delivery at the earliest.

The agreement comes amid improving ties between the two nations after the Cold War period and the Afghan war in 1980s when Soviet Russia had banned the sale of military hardware to US-allied Pakistan.

Russia has also lifted an embargo on providing defence supplies to Pakistan and currently the two sides are working to increase cooperation in the defence sector.

Ties have been on an upward trajectory for the past few years and Russia is also considering multi-billion investment to build a gas pipeline from Karachi to Lahore.

The two countries last year signed a military cooperation agreement to deepen their defence ties and vowed to translate their relationship in "tangible" terms during the first-ever visit of a Russian defence minister in 45 years.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu's visit last November to Pakistan came at a very critical juncture amid the draw down of US-led NATO forces from Afghanistan. 

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