Pak drift towards Russia can affect regional geopolitics, geo-economics: Report

25 April, 2023 | Pragati Singh

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Pakistan Petroleum Minister Musadik Malik declared that Russia would supply Pakistan with subsidised crude oil and diesel.

The shift of Pakistan towards Russia will have a huge impact on regional geopolitics and geoeconomics, as bilateral interactions between the two countries have recently increased significantly, according to Geo-politik. This follows Pakistan’s cooling relationship with the United States and greater inclination to strengthen ties with Russia. According to Geo-politik, Pakistan’s growing friendship with Russia may reopen prospects for Russia to be a strategic actor in the Indian Ocean and South Asian region, particularly in Afghanistan and West Asia. There are numerous areas where both countries have agreed to collaborate.

According to Geo-politik, Pakistan and Russia signed the North-South Gas Pipeline project from Karachi to Gwadar in 2015.

The project’s arrangements, which had previously been established on the build, own, operate, and transfer (BOOT) model, were changed in 2021, with Moscow providing 75% of the finance and Pakistan providing the remaining 25%. The new agreement provided that Pakistani state-owned firms would control 74% of the shares and 74% of the funding, with Russia holding the remaining 26%. According to Geo-politik, the project is currently known as Pakistan stream.

Furthermore, energy cooperation between the two countries is expanding. After a brief visit to Russia in early December 2022, Pakistan Petroleum Minister Musadik Malik declared that Russia would supply Pakistan with subsidised crude oil and diesel.

He also confirmed a Russian request to initiate talks with Pakistan for the delivery of liquefied natural gas (LNG), which might begin in 2025 or 2026. Denis Alipov, Russia’s envoy to New Delhi, stated in February 2022 that Moscow had kept defence cooperation with Islamabad to a bare minimum but wished to improve bilateral relations, according to Geo-politik.

However, Russia has maintained a minor defence cooperation with the country, such as the delivery of multi-task helicopters to Pakistan or annual joint military exercises (Friendship 2016, Druzohba 2020, Friendship 2021, Aman 2021).

According to Geo-politik, the Russian State Energy Corporation ‘Rosatom’ has proposed sending a mission to Islamabad to have consultations with pertinent Pakistani authorities on the non-power application of nuclear technologies, including water desalination.

After China, Russia is one of the best alternatives for Pakistan’s long-term friend, the United States, which is rapidly withdrawing from engagement. According to Geo-politik, both Pakistan and the US are becoming increasingly disillusioned with each other due to the failure of respective engagement agendas.

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