In a clear sign of shifting global dynamics and the concomitant need for new geopolitical 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 relations it seems are growing on a mutual basis as Russian Embassy has presented a draft four-year (2022-2025) roadmap for the development of trade and economic cooperation including the increase in bilateral trade turnover with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs last week in Islamabad. Reportedly, major areas of interest would be the industrial sector, utility equipment, transportation and energy sector. The initiative is aimed at stimulating the economic activity of Pakistani and Russian companies in the markets of both countries. It will also assist business communities on both sides in raising awareness about the opportunities available in the markets of Pakistan and Russia. Pledges have also been made to promote ties in various fields like automobiles, oil and gas sectors. They also stressed the need to increase trade volume. Pakistan has already become the first country to officially sign a huge trade deal with Russia at a time when Moscow has been facing severe criticism for invading Ukraine. As part of the agreement, Pakistan will import two million tonnes of wheat and natural gas from Russia.
For Pakistan, the benefit of this mutual relationship is obvious enough as Moscow is willing to assist Islamabad in producing clean energy through the 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 Both countries have realized the need to seek new, non-exclusive alliances rather than rigidly sticking with outdated attitudes and risk being vulnerable.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.