Islamabad: “Iran is highly unlikely to join CSTO, a Russian-led security organization, but would increase its partnership with CSTO member-states bilaterally”, said Mr. Gleb Makarevich, a Russian expert based on Moscow. He was speaking to an event organized by the Institute of Regional Studies, Islamabad.
While speaking to the audience ranging from academia and foreign policy experts, Mr. Gleb pointed that CSTO was not only security oriented but rather it entailed a multifunctional approach. This was precisely why Russia didn’t assisted Armenia in Nagarno-Karabakh conflict despite latter’s request, he added. Mr. Gleb, while acknowledging the limited resources of Russia, highlighted that Russia didn’t seek global dominance like the Soviet era but instead, it tried to gradually consolidate its partnership in former USSR states, Middle East, South Asia and South Caucasus through a bilateral framework. He alluded to the fact that Russia considered Iran as a strategic partner and sought collaboration in military, defense and technology sectors. While emphasizing on the role of Pakistan, Mr. Gleb added that Pakistan must join the International North-South Transit Corridor to maximize its economic potential and play its part in regional integration.
Fraz Naqvi, the In-charge of Iran Program at IRS, mentioned that given the geopolitical environment, the role of CSTO was overshadowed by the more widely recognized SCO platform in which China is present. Mr. Naqvi added that since Russia invited both Iran and Saudi Arabia as observer states in CSTO military exercises held in September 2023, it was quite possible that Russia might be trying to become an alternative external state alongside China in the Middle East.