India concerned over burgeoning Russia-Pak friendship - India - The Times of India NEW DELHI: A "new and improved" relationship between Russia and Pakistan has raised concerns in India that a certain "cosying up" might have security implications for India. In Trieste over the weekend, on the sidelines of the G-8 foreign ministers' meeting, a Russia-Afghanistan-Pakistan trilateral took shape to tackle terrorism, narcotics, "strategic stability" and regional cooperation. In Moscow, Russian and Pakistani officials met over the past couple of days to work on what they called "strategic cooperation". In fact, the foreign ministers' meeting took off from a trilateral summit level meeting in Moscow between Asif Zardai, Andrei Medvedev and Hamid Karzai after the SCO summit in June. A visit to Moscow by former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf in mid-June alerted Indian officials. The visit was apparently facilitated by a private businessman but India realised quite soon that Musharraf was "informally" preparing the way for the visit of Pakistan army chief Ashfaque Kayani who undertook a standalone visit to Russia last week. Musharraf, who remains very much a part of Pakistan's military establishment, reportedly had very "productive" meetings with Russian PM Vladimir Putin. The upshot of those meetings seems to be that Russia is willing to take another look at a defence relationship with Pakistan. Nandan Unnikrishnan, Russia expert at the Observer Research Foundation, said the truth was not quite so simple. "The Russians feel they need to open a channel with Pakistan. Their concern is driven by the situation in Afghanistan and its impact on Central Asia and the southern Caucasus. There could be a possibility that China is pushing them in this direction. It will be driven by the situation in Afghanistan," he said. During the SCO summit in Yekaterinburg, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev had declared that "nests of terror" in Pakistan had to be eliminated first. For that, Russia would give all help to Pakistan. Now Russia will even allow transit of NATO military cargo through its territory for use in Afghanistan, an indication of how serious they believe the situation to be. India's concern is that Russia could be on the verge of an arms supply relationship with Pakistan. Of all of India's military suppliers, Russia had, thus far, maintained a largely monogamous relationship with India, specially vis-a-vis Pakistan, though Pakistan sourced some Russian made stuff through Ukraine. Russia is now in the company of the Israelis, French and American weapons suppliers. In fact, Indian officials have reported that Putin feels there could be a commercial defence relationship with Pakistan. Russia's other big client is China, and right now, China is also in the business of helping out Pakistan against the Taliban and the target of US calls to "stabilise" Pakistan. Other Indian officials following developments there said Russia could only do with Pakistan what it had already started doing with China. And India has had to live with it. According to a joint statement by Afghanistan, Pakistan and Russia in Trieste this weekend, they "decided to explore the potential of tripartite cooperation in the areas of border control, exchange of information on terrorist activities and organisations, training of anti-terrorist and anti-drug police personnel... the terrorist threat could not be countered solely by enforcement measures and that these measures must be accompanied by national and international efforts to promote socio-economic rehabilitation and development of the region."