Pakistani army chief to visit Russia

Last Updated: Sun, Sep 30, 2012 07:30 hrs

Islamabad, Sep 30 (IANS) Pakistan Army chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani will visit Moscow in a bid to "address the temporary hiccup" in ties, after Russian President Vladimir Putin decided against visiting Pakistan on the ground that the engagement lacked substance and was more rhetorical, the Dawn said Sunday.

Kayani will be in Moscow on a four-day visit Oct 3-6, a close aide of the army chief told the daily.

The daily said Kayani's visit was being planned for months, but got additional focus because of the cancellation of Putin's trip to Pakistan.

It would have been a landmark visit, as Putin would have become the first Russian president to visit the country.

The army chief was originally expected to carry forward the strengthening of military relations initiated by Russian military chief Col-Gen Alexander Postnikov's visit to Pakistan in May last year.

But now, Kayani "would additionally have to address the temporary hiccup in the reset of ties" and seek continuation of the process that led to improvement in the relationship after decades of mistrust, the daily said.

It said Putin had decided against visiting Pakistan on the pretext that engagement lacked substance and was more rhetorical.

Kayani's last visit to Moscow was in 2009 at the invitation of then Russian Ground Forces chief Gen. Vladimir Boldyrev.

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