MAMOSA Report; Dec 31, 2016 — Russian President Vladimir Putin is likely to visit Pakistan in May next year to inaugurate the US$2 billion Liquefied National Gas (LNG) pipeline project that would help shape up the bilateral relations of Pakistan and Russia going forward, sources told The News in Islamabad on Friday.
“The high-level visit is supposed to see the Russian president inaugurate the US$2 billion dollar LNG North-South Pipeline Project from Karachi to Lahore, which would have the potential of opening a new era of strategic and political alliance between the two countries,” the sources said.
The sources said the Pakistani authorities are making efforts to finalize the tentative date for Putin’s visit to Pakistan through diplomatic channels and it is expected that the Russian president would visit Pakistan in May but an official announcement in this respect would be made in April.
The two countries have also assented to enter into negotiations for upgrading the existing 600MW gas-fired power plant at Jamshoro in Sindh on Russian funding. Back in the 1970s, Russia funded the giant Pakistan Steel Mills at Port Qasim near Pakistan’s financial capital Karachi. In 2003, then President Gen Musharraf visited Russia and sealed a $100m in Russian assistance with President Putin to enhance the production capacity of the Steel Mill.
The diplomatic sources said the geo-strategic position of Pakistan and challenges and interests shared by the two countries have motivated Russia to work for better and stronger bilateral relations with Pakistan, especially in the context of some highly-important political issues.
Observers believe Putin’s escalation to cover new heights in Russia’s relations with Pakistan (which is fast emerging as the center of region’s economic gravity) is multidimensional, not transactional nor binary. “It bodes well for Pakistan and regional peace,” said one analyst.
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Pakistan has also invited Russia to join the CASA-1000 project that redirects the excess of hydroelectricity from Central Asian countries to Pakistan and helps improve regional energy connectivity and upgradation of transmission infrastructure.
Pakistan invited the Russian Federation to join the CASA-1000 Project for the non-hydel part as there is a room for transmission of electricity from October to May, when the hydel generation is lower in the two central Asian countries.