Hopes for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s first visit to Pakistan have been raised since the signing of a gas pipeline agreement between Islamabad and Moscow last week.
The North-South Gas Pipeline, now renamed the Pakistan Stream Gas Pipeline, is the first major joint venture between the two countries since the end of the Cold War, and political experts hope it will help improve relations between the two countries. A new era will begin.
The agreement was first signed in 2015, but US sanctions on Russian companies at the time prevented progress on the 1,122-kilometer pipeline project. However, the two countries removed all obstacles and eventually introduced a new amendment. The agreement was signed last week under which Pakistan will have a 74% stake in the project. Completion of this 2 2.25 billion project will help control gas shortages in Punjab.
At present, Pakistan imports liquefied natural gas (LNG) through the same pipeline, which will also reduce costs.
Top government officials said that efforts were being made by both sides regarding the visit of the Russian President to Pakistan and in this regard, the Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan had also sent a formal invitation to the Russian President.
Diplomatic sources said that the Russian president wanted to visit Pakistan at a time when a major economic project was being launched between the two countries and now, following the gas pipeline deal, he had the opportunity to visit Pakistan. The possibilities are strong. He says Pakistan wants President Putin to inaugurate the gas pipeline project.