Pak-Russia cooperation is natural
Russia and Pakistan are facing Economic Challenges. Pakistan is over-burden with 95 Billion US dollars external debt, decline in exports, decline in foreign remittances, as a result facing severe shortage of foreign exchange. Government of Pakistan has taken some measures to address the economic situation. But need to do a lot more and may be it will be an up-hill task. Export is the most feasible option and most do-able way to generate foreign exchange. As Pakistan has a potential of exports in many areas, like Agriculture, Textiles, Minerals, Gems and Jewelry, Leather Products, Herbal Products, Handicrafts, Rugs and Carpets, Fruits, Vegetables, Dairy, Grains and etc.
On the other hand, steps has been taken to reduce the import burden. The biggest import-bill is Oil & Gas, Energy sector, where Russia has rich in resources and advance in technology. Industrialization is also an edge for Russians to help Pakistan. The first ever “Steel Mill” in Karachi was built by Russia. Steel Mill is back bone of all industries.
Russia is facing sanctions from US and its allies and need new trading partners. While Pakistan is also having similar situation and seeking new market. Both countries are alliance under SCO platform as well as BRI. Both countries have similar stand on Afghanistan issue and are active in restoration of “Peace and Stability” in Afghanistan. In fact, a stable Afghanistan is vital for trade between Pakistan, Russia, Central Asia, and China and onward to Middle-East, Africa, Europe through Gwadar and Arabian Sea.
“Convergence of Interests” make both Pakistan and Russia close allies. There exists defense ties between two nations and joint military exercises have witnessed a complete harmony among us. On diplomatic from, we are on the same page, either it is regional or international issue, we enjoy identical views.
There is dire need to enhance our trade relations and there exists numerous opportunities where we both countries can benefits of each other’s strengths and supplements each other’s deficiencies.
Pakistan is an Energy deficient country and meet only 15% of its energy requirement domestically, the rest 85% depends on Imports. While Russia can meet Pakistan’s energy requirement very conveniently. Russia has shown interest in Off-shore gas pipelines in Pakistan, which is estimated an investment of around US Dollar 10 Billions. Russian role in KASA 1000 and TAPI projects is admirable.
Pakistan’s export potential may be utilized in the best interest of Russian people, who can get good quality and affordable priced commodities from Pakistan and simultaneously, boost Pakistan exports and solve its economic crisis to some extent. Trade ties must be strengthen at a fast pace. Chambers of Commerce and Industries of both countries need to enhance mutual interactions and develop more understandings with each other. Business communities of both side may explore opportunities for trade. Governments of two countries may facilitate by offering easy-visa policies, exhibitions, mutual visit of trade delegations, and rationalization of tax structures.
Culture exchanges and student’s exchanges are best mode of promoting understanding among two nations. Russian Universities may offer opportunities for Pakistani youth for higher education. Academicals and intellectuals may enhance mutual visit. Media can play even much more effective role and bridge between the two countries.
We ae already on the right track and need to speed it up. The goals are to help each other and benefits to be trickled down to the common citizens of both nations. We believe in “Peace, Stability and Development” and we may strengthen our cooperation for the same.