Increasing proximity of Russia and Pakistan

It is reported that Pakistan has decided to hand over the management of a gas line project to Russia. This will be done through a special company formed for this purpose. This case is being considered as another example of increasing proximity of Russia and Pakistan.

Earlier this project was called North-South Gas Pipeline Project. According to the agreement now it will be named Pakistan Stream Gas Pipeline Project. Pakistan will continue to hold 74% stake in it. Russia’s share will be 26 percent as before. But it will be practiced by Russian companies. According to Pakistan newspaper ‘The Express Tribune’, under this project, Russian companies will transport natural gas from Kasim port in Karachi to Kasur in Punjab province.
According to the report published in the newspaper, Russian President Vladimir Putin has taken keen interest in the project. He has described this as a means to strengthen economic and strategic relations between Russia and Pakistan.

According to experts, the project will freeze Russia’s footsteps in Pakistan. Prior to this, Russia has also helped in setting up Oil and Gas Development Company (OGDC) and Pakistan Steel Mills in Pakistan. An agreement was reached in 2015 between Russia and Pakistan. Under it, it was decided that a gas pipeline of more than one thousand kilometers would be constructed from Karachi to Kasur. Now the project has been finalized. It is believed that this will help to overcome the lack of energy in Pakistan.

Increasing proximity of Russia and Pakistan
Increasing proximity of Russia and Pakistan

Pakistan has said that this project will usher in a new round of economic cooperation between Russia and Pakistan. There are reports that the two countries will soon sign some other agreements for economic and defense cooperation. In diplomatic circles, the close relations between the two who were in enemy camps during the Cold War days are being closely monitored. This is considered an example of new equations emerging in this field.

The importance of the latest agreement for Pakistan is also more because its relations with the Gulf countries and Saudi Arabia have deteriorated recently. Countries like United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia have been major sources of energy for Pakistan. Now that relations with them are deteriorating, Pakistan’s eyes are on Russia to compensate for the loss from it. Pakistan now sees Russia as a major source of defense, economic and energy cooperation for itself.

A major reason for the bitterness in Pakistan’s relations with the Gulf countries and Saudi Arabia is the deepening of these countries with the US. The UAE has recently tied up with Israel under US supervision. There have been reports that recently US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was visiting Saudi Arabia, then secretly Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also reached there. Although Saudi Arabia denied this, but according to experts, this news has been confirmed by all the circumstantial evidence.

Recently, where the UAE, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia have moved closer to the US, Turkey, Pakistan and Malaysia are engaged in the mobilization of the Islamic world. New equations are being created by this. In the meantime, it is important for Russia to support Pakistan, which has long strained relations with America.

It is worth mentioning that on 5 November, Russian troops had reached Pakistan for a joint operation of two weeks. This practice was considered an example of the deep military ties between the two countries. Taking the same reason forward, Russia has now reshaped its energy cooperation with Pakistan.