ISLAMABAD: The 4th meeting of the Pakistan-Russia Inter Governmental Commission (IGC) on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation was held here from 18-20 November.
Finance Minister, Mohammad Ishaq Dar led the Pakistan side while the Russian side was headed by the Viktor P. Ivanov, Minister / Director Federal Drug Control Services, Russian Federation who shared outcome of the 4th IGC with the media after conclusion of the Plenary.
Underscoring the importance of having high level contacts between the two countries for further strengthening of ties, the two sides reviewed the bilateral relations and discussed possibilities of enhancing cooperation in finance, trade and investment, science and technology, industry, energy, oil and gas exploration, food and agriculture, textile, drug and narcotics control and other areas of mutual cooperation. The Russian Co-Chair proposed to have direct air link between Moscow and Pakistan. The Pakistan Co-Chair welcomed the proposal which aims to enhance business to business and people to people contacts between the two partners.
The Inter-Governmental Commission expressed satisfaction at the progress made in finalization of the long outstanding DRAFT Agreement on settlement of mutual financial claims and obligations, Memorandum of Understanding on Science and Technical cooperation and the Protocol (Joint Statement) on conclusion of the 4th Session of the IGC. The Working Group on Energy, comprising the Ministry of Water and Power and Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources also signed a Protocol (Joint Statement), engaging the Russian counterparts in energy sector.
Minister Dar also appreciated the largest investment of Russia in Pakistan through Inter Government Agreement on North South Gas pipeline on 16 October 2015. Both sides agreed to developing a timeframe for the north-south gas pipeline and to setting up of a monitoring mechanism.
Minister Dar stated that it was encouraging to note that over 60 delegates from the Russian Federation including officials and the experts participated in the 4th IGC at Islamabad. On the sidelines of the IGC, holding of first ever Pakistan Russia Investment Forum at Islamabad with wide representation of the private sector and the business community from Russia and Pakistan was appreciated. Mutual desire was expressed to enhance bilateral trade relations and investment, particularly in the field of energy and agriculture.
The Russian side appreciated high quality of Pakistan’s agricultural products and expressed an interest for an increasing their exports to Russia. The Commission also decided to look into the possibility of establishing five working groups on (a) Finance and Banking, (b) Industry (with sub group on Pakistan Steel Mills), (c) Food and Agriculture, (d) Transport and Logistics and (e) Education including professional training.
Both sides decided to hold the 5th session of the Inter Governmental Commission in 2016 at Moscow, Russia on mutually convenient dates.