Russia has decided to develop its stakes in Pakistan’s economy in a big way and to this effect a 64-member delegation headed by Minister for Trade and Industries for the Russian Federation Denis V Manturov is visiting Pakistan for four days from today to December 11 to attend an Inter-Governmental Commission.
Russia contributed a lot towards Pakistan’s progress as it built the Pakistan Steel Mills, OGDCL, Guddu and Mazzafargarh power plants, installed a lot of hydel turbines, and repaired the Jamshoro power plant and more importantly it was a Russian engineer who erected Minar-e-Pakistan (Pakistan Tower).
Under the latest scenario, Russia has aspired many times to help reconstruct Pakistan Steel Mills making it economically viable and play its role in Pakistan’s energy sector.
Russia also wants to construct the railway track from Quetta to Taftan.
Russia will offer Sukhoi SuperJet-100 passenger planes to Pakistan for PIA, senior officials at Economic Affairs Division, ministries of Industries and Production and Commerce.
Russia and Pakistan will also figure out the much-delayed North-South gas pipeline. This will be the sixth meeting between the two countries at the IGC level on economic, trade, scientific and technical co-operation. Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar will represent Pakistan during the talks at IGC level. Both sides will find out more avenues in co-operation on trade, economic, scientific, and technical areas in IGC meetings.
The officials said that working group of both the countries on energy will meet on December 9 whereas working group on trade and industries will hold talks on December 10 and a plenary session is to be held on December 11.
Mentioning about the Russian offer of SSJ-100 aircraft to PIA, the officials said that the said planes will be available on direct purchase and lease to purchase options and can be positioned immediately on wet lease to meet the immediate operational requirements of PIA.
The aircraft can be operated both on domestic and international sectors to Middle East, CIS, India, China, Colombo, Bangladesh, UAE etc.
Aircraft can be supplied on both wet or dry lease with option to purchase.
The official said that the route analysis done for PIA in 2012 and more importantly Sukhoi SuperJet SSJ-100 is a pet project of President Putin.
Coming to Pakistan Steel Mills, the official said that Russia in the recent past offered three options saying under option-1, Russia wanted that its state-owned companies under g-to-g arrangement will revamp Pakistan Steel Mills and then it will handover it to Pakistan and under option-2, Russian state-owned companies will under g-to-g arrangement revamp PSM with their own management required for operation and maintenance.
And under third option, the project will get divided in three parts for revamping under which power plant of 156MW will be rehabilitated separately and similarly Coke Oven Battery Plan (COPB), Cold Rolling Mills and Hot Strip Mills and Jetty will be revamped separately.
However, Pakistan wants to deal with Pakistan Steel Mills under public private partnership (PPP) mode.
The official went on to say that during the IGC meeting, there are chances to create joint venture in Pakistan for production and maintenance of rolling stock of spare parts that can be used for running the Pakistan Steel Mills.
During the 4 days visit, both the countries would also explore avenues for increasing the bilateral trade which currently stands at about $400mn.
Pakistan’ exports stand at $150mn while import from Russia $250mn.
Last year the bilateral trade surged by up to $700mn as Pakistan purchased MI-35 helicopters from Russia.
Talking about much-delayed North-South pipeline, the official said that Russia has so far failed to provide sanctions-free structure to Pakistan for initiating $2.1bn pipeline.
Pakistan is very sensitive about involvement of any Russian company that is facing sanctions or on Watch List, as Pakistan cannot afford any Russian company to be involved in laying down N-S pipeline as it is under scanner of FATF and is still in the grey list. During the visit this project would also be figured out and progress will only be made once the Russian side provides the sanctions-free structure up to the satisfaction of Pakistan,’ the official concluded.
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