ISLAMABAD: In a major development, Pakistan and Russia are going to usher in a new era of economic cooperation in vital sectors of economy that include IT, agriculture, power, petroleum, railways, water, commerce under the 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 flight 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 for making modern locomotives for Pakistan railways.”
Russia and Pakistan also explored during the three day talks avenues to increase the bilateral trade up to the potential as in 2020, the Russian-Pakistani trade turnover increased by 45.8 percent 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 in Russia for three day talks. Umar is leading Pakistan’s delegation and positive development is that the 16 members’ delegation from various sectors of the economy are also there to hold B2B meetings with entrepreneurs in Russia.
In the official delegation, the secretary EAD and senior officials of various ministries and FBR are also included. “Russia also shows its interest in supply of assembled vehicles for state and private customers and 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 $3 billion Pakistan Stream gas Pipeline Project and the sources say that a shareholding deal may be signed in December or in early January. The Pakistan delegation, headed by the Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Division, 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 the LNG based floating power plants for Pakistan and also want to provide gas to Pakistan. Moscow is also 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 also 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 the countries may sign today (Friday) an MoU.
Russia has already developed with Pakistan reasonable ties in defense sector and now it wants to develop its stakes in important sectors of economy in the country. The sources said that Russia, which set up Pakistan Steel Mills in Karachi, is too interested to turn around it and bailout the Pakistan government. Pakistan’s 16 members’ business delegation representing surgical, garments, food, and agriculture held fruitful meetings with Russian entrepreneurs.