Pakistan and Russia are working on the visit of the Russian President to Pakistan. Prime Minister Imran Khan has officially invited President Putin. Pak-Russia relationship was tarnished by cold-war rivalries. President Putin’s visit is likely to mark the culmination of the two countries long-standing efforts to open a new chapter in their relationship. Pakistan also wants to develop its relationship with Russia to diversify its foreign policy capabilities.
In April, Russian Foreign Minister visited Islamabad after a nearly nine-year break. During the visit, he conveyed a special message to the Pakistani leadership on behalf of Russian President that we are ready to provide all possible assistance to our regional allies. However, diplomatic sources say Putin wants to visit him when he has something to sell.
With the signing of the Pakistan steam pipeline agreement, the chances of Russian President’s visit to Pakistan have increased significantly. Officials say the project is not only economically but strategically important to Pakistan.
The agreement was about to operate a gas pipeline from Karachi to Kasur. Pakistan wants President Putin to open the original pipeline project, which could start later this year or early next year.
The North-South Pipeline, now renamed the Pakistan Pipeline, is a show-off project the two countries have wanted to pursue since they decided to bury their rivalry in the Cold War and usher in a new era of bilateral relations.
Previously, 100% of Russian pipelines had to be “built, operated and transferred” on the model. The project will cost approximately $2.25 billion. Once completed, the pipeline will help address the gas shortage in Punjab. LNG, which Pakistan is now importing, will be re-gasified through this planned pipeline.
Pak-Russia Relationship is growing in all aspects
Eventually, the two sides overcame these obstacles and signed an amendment agreement that now transfers 74 percent of the pipeline to Pakistan. The agreement was originally signed in 2015. But U.S sanctions may imposed against Russian companies and other issues, work on project could not start. But now Pak-Russia relationship is beyond of all things.
The two countries have been conducting joint military exercises regularly since 2016, another sign of deepening ties between Moscow and Islamabad.
Not only are the two countries looking for ways to deepen economic ties, but Russia is now looking to sell arms to Pakistan. It was something that it has avoided in the past because of resistance from India.
In addition, both countries share the same views on important regional and international issues, including Afghanistan.