Tuesday May 21, 2024

Russia allowed use of Gwadar Port

By Khalid Mustafa & Muhammad Saleh Zaafir
November 26, 2016

 Moscow to have access to warm waters; Nawaz says many countries want to be part of CPEC; half of world population to benefit from project; South and Central Asia to be connected through road and rail; PM meets Turkmen president

ASHGABAT: Pakistan has decided to accord approval to the Russian request for using the Gwadar Port for its exports as Moscow has also showed its willingness to be part of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Following Iran and Turkmenistan, Russia has also decided to use the Gwadar Port for trade to have an access to warm waters, a top official privy to the development told The News.On top of it, Russia also wants to join the CPEC to reap the maximum dividends. In addition, Russia aspires to develop strategic defence ties with Pakistan. Islamabad has moved forward with a green signal allowing Russia to use the Gwadar Port for trade.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is on a two-day visit to Turkmenistan. During an informal chat with the journalists, after meeting with Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedow, he said that many countries wanted to join CPEC as half of the world would benefit from the project.

He announced building railways, road and fiber-optic along with Turkmenistan-Pakistan-Afghanistan-India (TAPI) 1,680-kilometer-long gas pipeline to enhance connectivity between South Asia and Central Asia for the benefit of about half of the world population living in this part of the world.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had a 100-minute-long meeting with Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedow who disregarding the protocol came to his hotel for having a meeting with him.

The prime minister in his back-to-back meetings would attend an international conference on connectivity and transport and would have meetings with the world leaders reaching here for the conference.

The prime minister is here for taking a leap forward by extending the benefits of the CPEC to the Central Asian States. He welcomed the Russian Federation’s interest in becoming part of the CPEC and maintained that Pakistan would welcome participation of any country in the gigantic project. He vowed that the CPEC would guarantee the prosperity of Pakistan and assured the people that in about 10 to 15 years time, Pakistan would become an affluent
country where the prosperity would become households. He said that TAPI would supply 400 billion cubic feet gas to the three member states in which Pakistan’s share would be three hundred billion feet of gas. 

The two leaders also reviewed progress on the TAPI and expressed hope that it would ultimately fulfill Pakistan’s needs for gas and energy. He reminded that Pakistan, China, India and countries of the Central Asia and South Asia have about three billion people constituting about half of the world. 

He recalled that President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedow visited Pakistan early this year and now he had come to Ashgabat. “I have invited the president to visit Pakistan and stressed the need for alternatively visiting each other countries regularly. I have developed close personal friendship with President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedow,” the prime minister said to a query that Pakistan and Turkmenistan would have air links as soon the PIA performance was further improved. 

President Gurbanguly said that Turkmenistan wanted improved road links between the two countries so that his country should be able to export through Gwadar and Karachi ports. Prime Minister said TAPI, which is the largest gas project in the region, would help meet the gas demand in Pakistan.

He said that CPEC would bring progress to the entire region. He said besides cooperation in bilateral relations, regional and international issues were also discussed during the meeting with the Turkmen president. He said friendship between Pakistan and Turkmenistan was strengthening with the passage of time. He said the top leadership of the two countries should meet every year. 

Earlier, the prime minister was received by the deputy prime minister of Turkmenistan and high officials of Pakistani Embassy. 

During his stay, the prime minister will attend Global Conference on Sustainable Transport being held under the auspices of the United Nations. The Conference will discuss promotion and role of sustainable transport towards achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif would present his vision about connectivity and development of infrastructure. The United Nations Secretary General (UNSG) Ban-ki-Moon, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani will also be present in the conference. Adviser to the Prime Minister Irfan Siddiqui, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Syed Tariq Fatemi and Secretary to Prime Minister (SPM) Fawad Hasan Fawad are the part of Pakistan entourage.

Earlier the sources in Islamabad suggested that Russian desire to be part of CPEC and use Gwadar Port indicated a new alignment in relations after decades’ sour ties between Pakistan and Russia.

It was being branded a welcoming development and the ice had melted to this effect in the recent meeting of spy masters of both the countries that was held in Islamabad.

Alexander Bortnikov, chief of Russian Intelligence Federal Security Services and former chief of KGB, in recent days visited Islamabad after 14 years and held meetings with intelligence and defence top officials. More importantly Bortnikov also held crucial meeting with Pakistan’s spy master — ISI chief Lt General Rizwan Akhter.

While talking to journalists, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who is on two-day visit to Turkmenistan, also welcomed the Russian decision to join CPEC.

However, in the meetings of Alexander Bortnikov with top officials of Pakistan requested to join CPEC and in return Pakistan gave positive signal allowing Russian to go for trade through Gwadar and to have access to warm water. In this regard the formal agreements will be signed between the two countries in the months to come.

With the desire of Turkmenistan and Iran for utilizing Gwadar Port for gas export will make the port international energy corridor.

Pakistan, the official said, would not only get the transit fee, but would also earn from the facilities such as LNG terminal. “So much so, Pakistan will also be able to get more intake of LNG, if required,” he said.

“If the gas trade of both the countries through Gwadar Port gets materialised, this will boost the image of the port to new high.”

Managing Director of Inter-State Gas System Mobin Saulat confirmed the development saying that the desire by both the gas producing countries was a welcoming development as in case it happened it would be win-win situation for all stakeholders --- Turkmenistan, Iran and Pakistan. Pakistan will earn a lot for giving the transit to gas of Tukeministan and Iran. Likewise it will also earn in the case of Russia, too.