The growing cooperation between Pakistan and Russia is a welcome development that will benefit both the countries in the coming years. The most recent agreement between the two countries was regarding the construction of gas pipeline from Lahore to Karachi worth $2 billion. The 1100 kilometer pipeline with a capacity of 12.4 billion cubic meter per annum will connect the LNG terminals in the port city of Karachi with those in Lahore. The agreement was jointly signed by Shahid Khaqan Abbasi the Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources and Alexander Novak the Russian Energy Minister.
Prime Minister Sharif and Russian President Vladimir Putin while meeting on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Ufa earlier this year had expressed his wish to develop a multi-dimensional relationship with Russia in the fields of trade, defence, energy and infrastructure..
In August this year Pakistan signed an agreement for the purchase of four MI-35 ‘Hind’ attack helicopters. The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has also discussed buying state of the art Sukhoi-35 ‘Flanker-E’ fighter aircraft from Russia in what would be the largest defence deal between the two countries.
Russia’s move is a huge shift in its policy in the wake of strategic partnership between US and India. Russia will also benefit tremendously from the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The CPEC project will make Pakistan the hub of economic activity in the region.
The massive investment in the energy sector in Pakistan will give a tremendous boost to Pakistan’s economy in the coming years, however, the benefits of these investments will only benefit the public if reforms are made domestically particularly in the pricing of natural gas, petroleum products and other fuels.
The growing cooperation between Pakistan and Russia will tremendously benefit both countries.