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The Pakistani and Russian governments have agreed to enhance their cooperation in the hydroelectricity sector

A deal has been reached between Pakistan and Russia concerning the enhancement of cooperation in the hydroelectricity sector. As a result of talks conducted by the Inter-Governmental Commission (IGC) in Islamabad, an agreement has been reached. On the eighth day of the IGC’s eight day meeting, the IGC reviewed the different areas of cooperation and discussed strategies for identifying potential new avenues for strengthening the bilateral ties between the two countries.

During their meeting on Thursday, Russia and Pakistan discussed ways to supply oil and gas to Islamabad on a “long-term” basis in the future.  A statement released by the Prime Minister’s Office said that the discussions took place over the past two days during a series of meetings between the Russian and Pakistani energy ministers as well as other government officials in Pakistan’s capital Islamabad.

In accordance with other sources, Russia has agreed to collaborate with Islamabad to explore natural gas in the country in a bid to assist Pakistan in finding alternative sources of energy. There is a recent agreement between Pakistan and Russia to deal with local currency, and Russian and Pakistani customs are going to sign an agreement in order to halt the smuggling of commodities between the two countries.

Currently, there is a Russian delegation headed by Energy Minister Nikolay Shulginov visiting Islamabad to discuss ways in which bilateral relations can be improved, with a particular focus on the issue of providing oil and gas at discounted rates to this South Asian nuclear nation.

In December, a Pakistani delegation led by Minister of State for Petroleum Musadik Malik arrived in Moscow to begin discussions regarding the purchase of oil and gas at discounted prices as the result of a visit by a Pakistani delegation to Moscow.

“Both sides were in agreement on the importance of the energy sector to the development of bilateral economic and trade relations. It was also discussed in this regard whether Russian oil and gas could be supplied to Pakistan on a long-term basis, according to the statement.

Besides issues related to gas pipelines, we have also reviewed matters relating to the Pakistan Stream Gas Pipeline Project, which is a 1,100-kilometer (684-mile) gas pipeline which connects the port city of Karachi with the northeastern province of Punjab.

As a result of global sanctions against Russia, Pakistan and Russia have signed two agreements for the construction of the $2.5 billion pipeline, which was originally scheduled to begin last year, but was halted due to sanctions imposed on Moscow by the international community.

The Pakistani government has been grappling with the increasing demand for energy, mainly from oil and gas, as well as the inflation of the current account deficit caused by oil payments due to an increase in oil exports. “One of the most important partners in the Islamic world”

According to Malik, he claimed in December that Russia had agreed to provide oil at discounted rates to Pakistan in order to meet Islamabad’s rising domestic and industrial energy needs in the coming months. As a result of his speech, he stated that Pakistan would purchase crude oil, petrol, and diesel from Russia at discounted prices.

As part of the visit, the Russian delegation also paid a visit to Lahore, the capital city of the northeastern province of Punjab, to meet with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. There was a “special message” that was delivered to Sharif by Russian President Vladimir Putin through Shulginov.

Putin, according to a statement issued by the ministry of foreign affairs, said in his message that Russia views Pakistan as an “important” partner in South Asia and the Islamic world, stressing Moscow’s strong commitment to deepening its bilateral ties with Islamabad. 

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For his part, Sharif pointed out that Pakistan attaches a great deal of importance to its relations with the Russian Federation as a result of the recent events. In September last year, he met with Putin in Samarkand, Uzbekistan and he recalled that important decisions had been reached there in order to further strengthen relations between the two countries.

A major focus of local politics has long been the procurement of oil, especially after the visit of former Prime Minister Imran Khan just a day before Russian forces launched their war on Ukraine on February 24, 2022. Khan, ousted through a no-confidence vote in parliament in April, claimed that his Moscow visit was one of the reasons behind his ouster.

Experts from the two countries held technical meetings and discussed ways to further advance their mutually beneficial cooperation in areas such as trade and investment, agriculture, energy, industry, education, science and technology, information and communication technologies, finance, customs, and communication, in addition to roads, postal services, and railways.

The visiting delegation also suggested Pakistan take benefit of Russia’s expertise in the field of science & technology and research.

On the last day of the meeting on Friday, there would be a main discussion on the implementation of the gas pipeline construction project titled “Pakistan Stream Gas Pipeline (PSGP),” oil and petroleum products delivery to Pakistan, Russia-Pakistani financial cooperation, implementation of the decisions and recommendations of the seventh meeting of the commission, besides cooperation in different sectors, before signing of the final protocol, as per shared schedule.

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