Pak close to ink deal with Russia for Mi-35 attack choppers

Pak close to ink deal with Russia for Mi-35 attack choppers
Pakistan is close to finalise a deal with Russia to buy Mi-35 (Hind E) attack helicopters, a sign of increasing defence ties between the Cold War-era adversaries.

The deal is believed to be signed after the conclusion of Army chief General Raheel Sharif's three-day visit to Moscow. An agreement would be signed 'very soon', the Dawn quoted a defence official as saying.

The official, however, avoided disclosing when and where the deal would be inked and how many helicopters were being purchased. Pakistan had been pursuing the helicopter purchase deal since 2009.

The two countries had signed a bilateral defence cooperation agreement aimed at strengthening military-to- military relations in November last year. The deal had to be followed by another 'technical cooperation agreement' to pave the way for sale of defence equipment to Pakistan.

On the last day of his Moscow visit, General Sharif yesterday attended a meeting on the proposed technical accord. Besides helicopters, Pakistan also appears interested in other Russian hardware.

The army chief spent about 15 hours during his trip at an arms expo near Moscow that featured Russia's cutting edge weapons and military equipment. He inspected not only the weapon systems on display but also saw their live demonstration.

Relations between the two countries are improving after 40-year of hostility during the Cold War in which Pakistan was in the anti-Soviet Union camp and had been instrumental in the Soviet pullout from Afghanistan in 1980s.

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