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March 31, 2021

Russia keen on revitalising PSM, railways: Pak envoy

National

March 31, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Islamabad and Moscow have gradually built strategic trust and the two countries have put in place institutional mechanisms for taking their bilateral coordination and cooperation forward.

These views were expressed by Pakistan’s Ambassador to the Russian Federation Shafqat Ali Khan at a webinar hosted jointly by the Strategic Vision Institute (SVI) and Moscow-based Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC) on ‘Russia-Pakistan Cooperation: Regional Interests and Global Context’.

The two countries in the past two decades have sincerely pursued development of friendly cooperative relations and today these relations are marked by deepening trust and expanding win-win cooperation, the envoy said.

Shafqat Khan said that “a solid architecture” had been put in place by the two countries for consultations and coordination on a wide range of issues, including strategic stability, counter terrorism, and economic and trade relations. He noted that bilateral trade had last year touched an all-time high of $730 million.

The envoy hoped that North-South gas pipeline, which has recently been renamed as Pakistan Stream, would become a flagship project of Pakistan-Russia economic relations. He said that Moscow had also expressed interest in revitalization of Pakistan Steel and improvement of Pakistan Railways.

Former ambassador to Russia Qazi Khalilullah touched upon the Russian proposal for collective security in the Gulf region. He said the Russian proposal espoused a regional and multilateral approach towards developing a security system by holding bilateral and multilateral consultations between interested states, including the UN Security Council. He said that the Russian proposal for collective security holds a promise if pursued actively.

RIAC Director-General Andrey Kortunov emphasized that both Pakistan and Russia enjoyed geo-political importance at the regional as well as global levels and said these two countries could cooperate with regards to developments in the broader Asia region and the Middle East in particular.

SVI President Dr Zafar Iqbal Cheema said Pakistan-Russia ties were marked by convergences instead of divergences though the pace of progress in the relationship had been relatively slow.