India ready to sell surplus power to Pakistan, Modi approves

Irshad Salim (BE2C2 Report) — Amid all the hoopla on social media about Nawaz-Modi bonhomie and Thursday’s Nawaz-Jindal ‘secret meeting’ in Murree, comes the news that India’s central cabinet has approved to sell surplus power to Pakistan after a green signal from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Ufa, Russia in 2016

Earlier, the power sale recommendation was proposed by the East Punjab government to Delhi, reported Pakistani news agency NNI published by The Nation newspaper.

“The news was confirmed by Indian Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh who revealed that the prime minister informed about his positive decision to a Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) delegation headed by chairman and CEO. Modi also gave indication to boost trade with Pakistan in other sectors,” the report added.

Pakistan, specially Punjab — its heartland, has been facing serious power shortage specially in the summer.

Pakistan seeks to purchase electricity as far as from Central Asia, and even northwest region of China and Iran, until it augments, expands its electrical assets with the help of loans and investments from China under the whopping $62 billion China-Economic Corridor program.

Despite rising tensions and constant spat-exchanges between India and Pakistan over the long-standing Kashmir dispute, business and trade activities are apparently a non-issue between the warring neighbors – “an indication that geopolitics don’t really matter in terms of dollars and cents,” said one Pakistani analyst to BE2C2 while citing examples.

A report by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) revealed that Pakistan grew its exports to India (particularly cement) during the first eight months of 2016-17 while curtailing imports by 23 per cent, Dawn online reported.

The trade balance, however, remained in favor of India.

Imports from India in 2015-16 were worth over four times the exports from Pakistan, a five-year high.

Pakistan imported goods worth $1.8 billion in 2015-16 compared to the exports of just $400 million, the SBP report added.

Meanwhile, Iran is keen to supply 1,000 MW of electricity to Pakistan on discounted rates to overcome the prevailing energy crisis, said Mashallah Shakiri, the ambassador of Iran in Pakistan, reported local media outlets.

The country is witnessing a surging shortfall with unannounced and unscheduled loadshedding in major cities which sizzle in scorching heat.

The countrywide demand for electricity is 17000MW whereas the production capacity is 10,000MW taking the shortfall to 7000MW.

In a related note, Pakistan People’s Party’s (PPP) has stated that it would hold protest camps against the massive load-shedding in the country at historic Minar-e-Pakistan in Lahore on May 4.

The party’s central secretary information Ch Manzoor said that PML-N government in the center and in Punjab have badly failed to reduce the power shortfall as the country facing massive load-shedding of all times.

While talking exclusively with Online on Wednesday, Manzoor said the party would soon start massive mass mobilization camping in whole province and added that large number of public rallies would be organized in whole of Punjab with the coordination of enthusiastic “Jyalas” (PPP workers, activists).

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