Astana/Islamabad, June 10: Russian President Vladimir Putin has termed Pakistan as an important partner for his country in South Asia, a media report said.
He conveyed this to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during their meeting on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Astana on Friday.
The two leaders discussed bilateral relations, including trade and economic cooperation, and also current international issues during the meeting. Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastgir were present at the meeting, Pakistan Today reported.
Putin congratulated Sharif on Pakistan's accession to the SCO. Putin said: 'I am glad that we met for a

bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the SCO Summit.'
He said Russia-Pakistan relations have been constructive and mutually beneficial. 'our relations are developing in many areas, and our trade has increased, even if only by a few percentage points. Of course, we are able to do much more than we are doing now,' he said.
In turn, Prime Minister Sharif thanked President Putin, and the Russian Federation for supporting Pakistan's full membership in the SCO.
Sharif said, 'while in Ufa we did agree on improving Pakistan-Russian bilateral trade, there is improvement but not the level that we agreed upon. It has been always my endeavour to build and strengthen our relationship and I am continuing to strive for that.'
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