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Stepwise Towards Cooperation

Text: Central Navy Portal
Photo: Central Navy Portal
Some foreign delegations visiting 5th International Maritime Defense Show did not advertise their presence. Delegation of Pakistani Defense Ministry was represented by Rear Admiral Shah Sohail Masood, Additional Secretary, Pakistani Ministry of Defense and Brigadier-General Tahir Siddiq, Pakistan's military attach in Moscow. Central Navy Portal had a chance to ask them some questions.

Editorial staff interviews Pakistani delegation.
From L to R: Sergei Bogatov, Central Navy Portal, editor-in-chief; Rear Admiral Shah Sohail Masood; Brigadier-General Tahir Siddiq; Roman Kuraksa, interpreter, Central Navy Portal
- Sir, could you tell about the purpose of your visit to the show?

- First of all, I'm representing Pakistani defense ministry here. But being a naval officer, I can tell that the basic purpose of the visit is to demonstrate willingness and desire of Pakistani Navy to cooperate with Russian Navy as well as to set tight relations with Russian defense industry. Initially, it was planned that Pakistani defense minister would attend the show personally. But unfortunately, he is so busy at the moment that could not visit the exhibition.

For us, participation in IMDS-2011 is a great opportunity to familiarize with all Russian military know-hows concentrated in one place and to establish contacts. So far, we have first results of our visit. We have met with Chief of Russian General Staff yesterday, and I told him about readiness of Pakistani defense ministry to cooperate with Russian Navy. And we're going to meet with director of Federal Service for Military Technical Cooperation and a representative of Rosoboronexport. Hopefully, we'll discuss issues of cooperation at those meetings.

Our current visit is continuation of long-standing and close contacts with Russia, as well as a series of visits month ago when Pakistani top-ranking officials visited Russia, and General Colonel Alexander Postnikov paid a visit to our country.

In August there will be International aerospace show MAKS-2011 in Moscow, and Pakistani military delegation will take part in it as well.

Rear Admiral Shah Sohail Masood, Additional Secretary, Pakistani Ministry of Defense
- What impression does the show make on you and what strikes you most?

- Our delegation was one of the first to arrive at this show. We were glad to have a chance to view arms and equipment displayed outdoors and in pavilions. Prior to that, we even visited a submarine [SSK Saint Petersburg editors]. Russian ships seem very impressive, and we understand that Russian defense industry holds one of the world's top positions. We wish manufacturers further success and achievements in development of new high-tech equipment.

- Sir, do you think contacts between Russian and Pakistani Navy should be tighter? Are there any plans for joint exercises, participation in anti-piracy operations or other activities of this kind?

- Well, currently all contacts between our armed forces come to numerous meetings including those at top-ranking level. We consider this is only the beginning which must be continued. Pakistani Navy command waits edgily for invitation from Russian side and is ready to participate in any joint exercise and anti-piracy operation. Visits of warships would be a good evidence of improved relations between our countries, when Russian people could see naval flag of Pakistan and Russian-flagged ships would call at Pakistani ports. That would be a remarkable continuation of our contacts.

Such small meetings shape a great picture of our future cooperation, and we're moving toward it step by step.

- We also hope that soon we could see Pakistani warships and meet with you on board one of them here in St. Petersburg. Thank you very much for interview.

Curriculum vitae

Rear Admiral Shah Sohail Masood was born in August 1960 in Larkana, Pakistan. After graduation from Cadet College in 1979, he joined Pakistani Navy and obtained first officer's rank in 1981. Served in submarines and destroyers; in 1990 1993 passed probation in Saudi Arab Navy; graduated from officer's course in 1996; has master's degree in strategic studies.