Russia seeks more markets to sell oil and gas, Pakistan 'priority partner' in Asia, says Putin | The Financial Express

Russia seeks more markets to sell oil and gas, Pakistan ‘priority partner’ in Asia, says Putin

President Putin expressed hope that the problems with political stability will be settled as Russia has good relations with the people of Afghanistan.

Russia seeks more markets to sell oil and gas, Pakistan ‘priority partner’ in Asia, says Putin
On the sidelines of the SCO summit in Samarkand in Uzbekistan, after his meeting with the Prime minister of Pakistan Shahbaz Sharif, Russian President Vladimir Putin called Pakistan a "priority partner" in Asia.

Following US led sanctions Russia is in constant search of markets for its gas and oil in Asia and other countries. It has well developed networks with Central Asian countries and with a little extension it can connect its pipeline to Afghanistan and Pakistan, opine experts.

On the sidelines of the SCO summit in Samarkand in Uzbekistan, after his meeting with the Prime minister of Pakistan Shahbaz Sharif, Russian President Vladimir Putin called Pakistan a “priority partner” in Asia. According to reports coming from the historic city Samarkand, the Russian leader said that with part of the necessary infrastructure in place gas supplies to Pakistan are possible.

According to a Kremlin readout, the Russian President said that “I would like to note that we see Pakistan as a priority partner in Southeast Asia and Asia as a whole.”

Russia & Pakistan

Objective is to supply gas from Russia all the way to Pakistan. And some infrastructure is already in place starting from Russia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

The read out from the Kremlin has said that President Putin said that there are large scale projects which are interesting – the Pakistan Stream gas pipeline project. This involves the construction of the infrastructure which is required for the supply of LNG.

The two sides also talked about the situation in Afghanistan. President Putin expressed hope that the problems with political stability will be settled as Russia has good relations with the people of Afghanistan.

Experts Views

“Pakistan is an energy deficient nation and most of its energy supplies come from Gulf States. There was already a plan underway to develop a pipeline called TAPI which could have connected Turkmenistan to India through Afghanistan and Pakistan,” states Prof Rajan Kumar, School of International Studies, JNU.

Adding, “But this was a US supported project, and after the withdrawal of the US from Afghanistan its fate is in doldrums. A Russia-Pakistan pipeline can further be extended to India. But such a project will require strong goodwill among the members to succeed.”

Echoing similar views, Ambassador Anil Trigunayat says: “While SCO Summit is important, especially this one happening in person after years, often the focus remains on bilateral relations. Embattled PM of Pakistan Shehbaz Sharif met President Putin also mired in Eurasian war to discuss further cooperation that has been going on for over a decade in the alleged context of Afghanistan. Russia offered to supply gas through pipelines as infrastructure is said to be in place.”

“There are other proposals like TAPI and IPI that have basked in the Cold due to regional Geopolitics. Given the current situation and sanctions Moscow is securing whatever markets are available. Islamabad is in the worst economic situation and could benefit. Former PM Imran Khan was accused of supporting Russia during his untimely visit,” Ambassador Trigunayat adds.

Should India be concerned?

No. According to Ambassador Trigunayat, “India need not be too concerned as its strategic autonomy holds her on solid foundation and Russia is the 3rd largest hydrocarbon supplier in recent times besides the relationship being far deeper and expansive. What was a matter of concern was the US grant of $450mn to Islamabad to spruce up its aging F16 fleet.”

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