Pakistan is clutching at straws. Perhaps encouraged by the growing relationship between Russia and its all-weather friend China, and also by Moscow’s (though less than modest) outreach to it in military terms, Islamabad believes it can vitiate India-Russia ties by spinning out fake news. A section of the Pakistani media recently floated the news that Russia had offered to mediate between India and Pakistan on the Kashmir issue. Since the Pakistani Press could not have circulated this information without some hint from the ruling establishment there, it becomes obvious that the elected Government and the Pakistan Army are desperate to introduce elements that don’t exist. Both Moscow and New Delhi have stringently denied reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin had offered his services for such mediation. This should blow away Pakistan’s devious attempt to misinterpret issues and promote the canard that the world is eagerly waiting to play the midwife to a resolution on the Kashmir matter. Pakistan has been doing its best (or worst) to draw global attention and pull in third parties to settle the matter. It repeatedly raises the K-word at the United Nations and even tries to bring it into multilateral forums that have nothing to do with the bilateral dispute which needs to be settled as per the Shimla accord. Pakistan has even repeatedly tried to rope in the US – and every time there is a change of political guard in Washington, DC, the Pakistani establishment goes hyper in the employment of its old tricks. Yet, it has failed to win support from any of the major powers. Even China, which has shown a perplexing inclination to back Islamabad while ignoring the latter’s role in fomenting terrorism on Indian soil, has not openly supported Pakistan on the issue of having a third party mediator. Islamabad’s desperate attempt to win over Russia’s affection is amusing. It has reinforced efforts at a time when India and Russia are celebrating 70 years of diplomatic relationship – and friendship. Perhaps Pakistan believes that it can drive a wedge in the ties in the backdrop of New Delhi’s stepped-up engagement with the US, France and Israel in defence cooperation and subsequent lessening of India’s dependence on Moscow for its defence needs. What Pakistan fails to appreciate, though, is that India-Russia relations do not rest on defence deals (though the Russian support to this country’s defence sector remains enormous). The roots of the ties go deeper and gain strength from decades-old socio-cultural linkages. They are based on the simple yet affective mantra of implicit trust – something which both President Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have repeatedly emphasised in their interactions with the public and to each other in face-to-face meetings. The Pakistani establishment must abandon its doomed strategy to create a rift between two old friends and instead concentrate on the ills that plague its country.