minister
Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu salutes during the Victory Day parade in Moscow's Red SquareReuters/File image

As India establishes close ties with America, its neighbour and arch rival Pakistan has agreed to conduct joint military exercises with Russia.

This will be the first time that the Cold War era adversaries have agreed to hold a joint defence drill.

Russia's defence minister Sergei Shoigu and his Pakistani counterpart Khawaja Asif announced the agreement on 15 April, after the latter travelled to Moscow for a security conference.

The two ministers also discussed various bilateral issues and Shoigu praised Pakistan for taking steps towards battling terrorism and preventing drug smuggling.

Pakistan's defence minister Khawaja Asif was quoted by Sputnik International as saying: "We [Pakistan and Russia] agreed to enhance cooperation in both defence industry and military training."

A Pakistani defence ministry statement said: "Joint participation in military exercises will be promoted. There was consensus that a multipolar world would ensure peace and balance in international relations."

Late last year, the two countries had signed a defence cooperation agreement by which Russia lifted embargoes on supplying weapons to Pakistan.

In November 2014, Shoigu visited Pakistan, which was the first by a Russian defence minister in around 45 years. The move was seen by many as Russia's ploy to gather support from other countries as the escalating war between pro-Russian rebels and Ukrainian forces threatened to attract sanctions from the West.

Meanwhile in Moscow, the two ministers agreed that conflicts should be resolved through diplomatic means and use of force should be discouraged and abandoned.

Asif is in Russia to attend a two-day security conference, which commences on 16 April.