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Economic cooperation with Russia

Economic cooperation with Russia

According to newspaper reports, Pakistan and Russia are all set to sign two agreements worth $10 billion, envisaging the laying down of two pipelines, an offshore gas pipeline and another North-South liquefied natural gas pipeline this week. Local and foreign financial experts believe the agreements would open up new vistas cooperation between the two countries. Reports also suggest that a high-powered Pakistani delegation will visit Russia to find out other fields of economic cooperation apart from signing the gas pipelines agreements. A state-owned company, Inter State Gas Systems, is already engaged in Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India (Tapi) gas pipeline project to connect South and Central Asia to Pakistan and India. The work on this project in Pakistan will start in March next year. The China Pakistan Economic Corridor and Tapi projects are considered game changers in the region which will not only change the dynamics of economy, but also politics. Another gas project, Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline is in limbo and needs to be activated. Billions of dollars have been spent on this project but is still not reached the operational mode. The experts believe the three gas pipeline projects will not only increase political standing of Pakistan in the comity of the nations, but will also cater to the energy needs of regional countries.

Relations between Pakistan and Russia are improving and the new agreements will further push the two countries closure. Russia is looking toward South Asia as an alternative market to sell its gas at reasonable price. The country has huge gas reserves and laying the offshore pipeline through Gwadar Port would be in its own interests. Russia has emerged as one of the biggest gas exporting country in Europe and is catering to needs of the industrial sector in Turkey. However, there is a need to take serious view of the agreements as mere signing documents and throwing the same in cold storage will be mere wastage of time and money. Pakistan is energy starved country and desperately needs new sources of energy to feeds the growing industrial base of the country. Earlier, Pakistan signed a 15-year agreement with Qatar to import LNG and the agreements with Russia will strengthen the depleting energy resources in the country. There is also need to explore oil and gas on the shores of Arabian Sea as geologists predict there are huge reserves of oil and gas in the area as it is the same belt where the gulf countries are situated.