A senior member of the Russian Embassy in Pakistan, Mr. Andrey Nikolaevich Shabalin, was invited to speak at the Center for International Strategic Studies, Islamabad on Wednesday, June 10th, 2015 to discuss Russian Perspective on International Security and Role of Pakistan. The talk was attended by government officials, retired diplomats and members of the academia. The speaker was briefly introduced to the participants by Ambassador Ali Sarwar Naqvi, Executive Director of the Center for International Strategic Studies. Mr. Andrey Shabalin briefly discussed the changing dynamics of the international politics while highlighting the disregard for the emerging power shift in the political system by the Western World. He gave the Russian perspective on important areas ranging from information security, counter-terrorism, nuclear disarmament, global nuclear regime, United Nations reforms, dangers from internationalization of the World Wide Web and preventive disarmament of the outer-space. Mr. Shabalin also touched upon issues like NSG membership criteria, United Nations Security Council membership, and FMCT negotiations in the context of improving Russia-Pakistan relations, particularly the prospects of bilateral defence partnership. He also discussed Pakistan’s candidature for the SCO and said that it is expected to materialize in the next SCO meeting. Mr. Shabalin expressed the view that Russia and Pakistan have similar views on many issues, especially on nuclear disarmament, and endorsed the importance of nuclear weapons for the security of both states. While speaking of the common understanding of both states on disarmament, he mentioned that the Western view of just “Dropping nuclear weapons out of the equation” will not solve any problems. Both Pakistan and Russia agree that conducive environment is needed for the survivability of a Nuclear Weapons Free World which cannot be imposed by pressuring certain states. Moreover, he pointed to the lack of consensus on a strategy for dealing effectively with the global terrorist threats. In this regard he also mentioned Russia’s presentation of a proposal to the United Nations General Assembly on the strategy of dealing with the issue of terrorism. Furthermore, he voiced his concerns about the unstable relationship of India and Pakistan and mentioned that easing of tensions between the relationships the two countries is vital to the stability of the region. Apart from the areas of common interest, he also pointed out areas of divergence between Pakistan and Russia which include Pakistan’s desire for criteria-based NSG membership, and Pakistan’s stance on the FMCT negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament. He concluded by saying that concerns on key international issues should be the basis to develop common policies for the solution of the problems discussed on a multi-lateral level. The presentation was followed by an engaging interactive session in which further discussion of the points raised by the speaker took place.
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