Russia ready to sell MI-35 helicopters to Pakistan: Dedov
Islamabad: Russia has said it is willing to supply MI-35, a multi-purpose military transport helicopter for combat missions, to Pakistan to assist the country in fighting terrorism.
Russian Ambassador to Pakistan Alexey Dedov announced this at a news conference held in the embassy yesterday, ahead of next week`s visit of Pakistani Prime Minister`s Foreign Affairs Adviser Sartaj Aziz to Russia.
"Pakistan has expressed its interest in buying MI-35 helicopters and we have shown our willingness to provide them," said the ambassador.
He said the deal was not finalised yet but the two sides were in touch over the issue.
"There is ongoing cooperation with Pakistan in the field of defence and counter-terrorism and security," Dedov said.
"Presence of Uzeb, Tajik, ETIM militants in Pakistan`s tribal areas are posing a security threat to the entire region and collective efforts are needed to tackle this menace," he was quoted as saying by Dawn news.
Dedov denied that there was any ban on selling defence equipment to Pakistan.
Pakistan`s request for MI-35 helicopters, which is intended for combat missions on day-and-night basis in adverse weather conditions, was made in 2009, but Russia delayed the issue due to its traditional strong ties with India, which was Russia`s "exclusive military technical cooperation partner."
Russia has long been the largest supplier of arms to India, the world`s top arms buyer.
India recently chose to buy arms from Israel, France, Britain and the United States to modernise its armed forces` ageing hardware.
Aziz will travel to Russian city of Kazan to participate in the 5th International Meeting of High-Level Officials Responsible for Security Matters from June 18-20.
He would also meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov during the visit.
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