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Russia: No Su-35 negotiations with Pakistan
September 21, 2019
Su-35. Photo credit: United Aircraft Corporation

Russia: No Su-35 negotiations with Pakistan

Speaking to RIA Novosti, Vyacheslav Davidenko, an official representative of Rosoboronexport – Russia’s state-owned arms export agency – said that there are no ongoing arms negotiations, including the Su-35, taking place with Pakistan.

Mr Davidenko also added that Pakistan had been invited by the Russian Ministry of Defence to attend and participate in Army 2016, which had taken place from 6-11 September.

Notes, Comments & Analysis:

While Rosoboronexport’s statement establishes that there are no negotiations taking place with Pakistan of the sale of Su-35s, it does not necessarily negate earlier statements made by Major General Naveed Ahmed, the Director General of Defence Purchases (DGDP).

During the Army 2016 exhibition, Maj. Gen Ahmed had told RIA Novosti that the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) was interested in the Sukhoi Su-35, but the decision (to start negotiations in earnest) was with Moscow. Furthermore, the DGDP also stated that there are no big-ticket acquisitions from Russia in the pipeline at this time, though efforts were underway to buy a batch of RD-93 turbofan engines for the JF-17.

At least on Quwa, the crux of the issue had been the need to confirm whether the PAF itself is (or at least was) interested in the Su-35. The PAF has yet to comment on the subject. The DGDP’s statement during Army 2016 suggests that while there may be interest in the Su-35, it would be premature – especially with Rosoboronexport’s statement – to suggest that actual talks are underway. Furthermore, although Rosoboronexport confirmed that there are no talks taking place, it is not the principal decision maker on this issue; its role is to manage the acquisition process once it has been approved by the Kremlin.

That said, the fact that Pakistan had been invited by the Russian Ministry of Defence to attend Army 2016 clearly sits well with an earlier idea suggested on Quwa that Russia, at least in broad terms, is comfortable with the notion of selling arms to Pakistan. However, Moscow will show discretion when it comes to the question of releasing certain armaments to Pakistan, and the Su-35 would certainly be among those areas that will be gauged very carefully (in light of Moscow’s dealings with New Delhi).