New Era in Russia-Pakistan Relations?

In a major development, Pakistan and Russia are going to usher in a new era of economic cooperation in vital sectors of the economy that include IT, agriculture, power, petroleum, railways, water and commerce under a new regional and strategic partnership.

In this regard, both sides are set to ink some important pacts today (Friday) in Russia, well-placed diplomatic sources told The News.

“Both countries are likely to allow direct flights to each country via Dubai and to this effect, reasonable advancement has already taken place between the Russian Federal Air Transport Agency and the Pakistan Civil Aviation Agency. Russia has also shown keen interest to extend its expertise and investment to make modern locomotives for Pakistan railways,” the report stated.

During the three-day talks, Russia and Pakistan also explored avenues to increase bilateral trade up to the potential of 2020. The Russian-Pakistani trade turnover increased by 45.8% compared to 2019 to $789.8 million.

Pakistan and Russia are currently in talks under the Inter-Governmental Commission (IGC) on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation.

Federal Minister for EAD Umar Ayub is leading the Pakistani side in Russia. A 16-member delegation from various sectors of the economy is also there to hold B2B meetings with entrepreneurs in Russia.

According to the publication, Russia has also shown interest in the supply of assembled vehicles for state and private customers and the implementation of the vehicle assembly project (SKD kits) in Pakistan.

The Russian media is giving paramount importance to the IGC level talks with Pakistan and the warmth from the Russian side can be gauged from the fact that so far three big media houses have interviewed Umar Ayub, preempting the opening of a new era between the two countries on economic fronts.

Moscow is also in talks for a Shareholders Agreement on the $3 billion Pakistan Stream Gas Pipeline (PSGP) project and sources say that a shareholding deal may be signed in December or in early January.

The Pakistan delegation also visited the TMK facility of pipeline manufacturing, which will be used in the PSGP project in Pakistan.

Russia is also interested, the sources said, to develop LNG-based floating power plants for Pakistan and also want to provide gas to Pakistan.

Moscow is keen to invest in transmission lines of the power sector apart from extending its expertise and investment in the water sector of Pakistan.

More importantly, it wants Pakistan to send its food and agriculture products to Russia. Both sides have so far also discussed the Customs duty regime and to this effect, both countries may sign today (Friday) an MoU.

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