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Pak-Russia ties

In a clear sign of shifting global dynamics and the concomitant need for new geo-political alliances in a rapidly changing world, Pakistan’s courting of Russia is on. The historically terse relationship has started to thaw in recent years as Pakistan belatedly emerges out of foreign policy stagnancy rooted in the permutations of the Cold War era.

The latest indicator of this renewed and mutually beneficial association is the successful conclusion of the 7th Session of Pak-Russia Intergovernmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation held recently. Both countries have agreed that the Bank of Russia and the State Bank of Pakistan should render their assistance in developing the Russian-Pakistani financial infrastructure. Pledges were also made to promote ties in various fields like energy, automobiles, oil and gas sectors. They also stressed the need to increase the trade volume. Reportedly, in 2020, the Russian-Pakistani trade turnover increased to $789.8 million by 45.8% compared to 2019.

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For Pakistan, the benefit of this mutual relationship is obvious enough as Moscow is willing to assist Islamabad in producing clean energy through exploration of new reserves as well as offering its own gas at much cheaper rates compared to the fuel oil being used currently to produce electricity. Furthermore, Russia as the largest oil and gas producing country has plenty of technical expertise to contribute, which would further help eliminate Pakistan’s energy shortfall. With Russia and China gaining in strength and confidence in the global arena, the relationship amongst the world powers is set to undergo a shakeup as the unipolar dominance of the US now has a definite expiry date. To assert and secure their growing status, Russia and China are on a diplomatic offensive to win over new allies.

Both countries have realized the need to seek new, non-exclusive alliances rather than rigidly sticking with outdated attitudes and risk being vulnerable. First the impasse with Pakistan was broken when Russia agreed to an arms deal, now the relationship has progressed to the energy sector. It is hoped that this emerging alliance does not suffer from the reversals of the past and continues to foster results in a mutually advantageous economic relationship.

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