Pakistan, Russia to go for FTA, currency swap agreement

Published: November 8, 2011

Top Russian military commander meets Kayani to discuss post-Osama regional security, say official sources.

ST. PETERSBURG: The leaders of Pakistan and Russia have expressed the willingness to speed up work on the proposed Free Trade Agreement and currency swap arrangement to boost bilateral trade and further strengthen their economic ties.

Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, who had a frank discussion in a cordial atmosphere, here on Monday also discussed the whole gamut of relations on the sidelines of the 10th Heads of Government meeting of the SCO. The two leaders discussed several important issues including fight against terrorism and extremism besides calling for the need to adopt a regional approach in dealing with common challenges. The two leaders discussed ways to strengthen relations by increasing cooperation in energy, trade, infrastructure development, agriculture, business cooperation and people to people contacts.

Prime Minister Putin said relations between Pakistan and Russia have reached a level, where both the countries were in a position to enhance trade, measuring up to their strong ties.

Prime Minister Gilani said Russia was an important country and a source of stability in the region and because of its geographical proximity and strength of economy, it has contributed significantly for the socio-economic uplift of the region.

The Russian premier also supported Prime Minister Gilani’s proposals for implementing trade and energy projects.
He announced financing of 500 million US dollars for the CASA-1000 for the power transmission from Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan to Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Putin also offered Russia’s assistance for the enhancement of the production capacity of the Pakistan Steel Mills by increasing its production from the current one million tonnes to three million tonnes.

He also offered coal gasification technology for the Thar coal and upgradation of the Guddu and Muzaffargarh power plants to increase power generation capacity to help meet country’s growing energy needs.

Putin said in practical and tangible terms, Russia wants materialization of projects including TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India) gas pipeline project and the Central Asia South Asia Electricity Trade and Transmission Project (CASA 1000).
Gilani appreciated Russia’s support for mega projects including CASA-1000 and said it was his fourth meeting with Prime Minister Putin.
He mentioned that he joined other leaders at the SCO forum despite the occasion of Eid because of the importance of the forum and also because of Pakistan’s commitment to the regional issues.
Prime Minister Gilani called for the opening of respective bank branches in both the countries to jack up the trade level.  He said the top officials of their central banks can meet to work on an operational strategy in this regard.

The Russian Prime Minister said the inter-ministerial commission’s meeting will be held on December 12, which will take up all subjects of cooperation at the experts level.
“Pakistan is important for us in trade and economy and is an important country of South Asia and the Organization of the Islamic Conference and can play an important role in the promotion of peace and security in the region,” he told Prime Minister Gilani.

The leasing of Sukhoi commercial aircraft for the Pakistan International Airlines was also discussed during the meeting.
Russian premier Putin also offered assistance to Pakistan in disaster management, saying it could help save precious lives and property.
Gilani said he was very pleased to meet his counterpart at his home town of St. Petersburg, which was also an economic hub like Karachi, where he was born and said “we share affinity between the two cities.”

Putin supported Pakistan’s stance on war on terror and agreed to pursue the policy of counter-terrorism for ensuring regional peace.
The two prime ministers agreed that collective regional efforts were required to eliminate terrorism from the region to usher in peace and stability, and redirect all energies towards economic interaction among the members of SCO.

Russian Prime Minister said Pakistan had good relations with China like the ties of his country with China, and it would be appropriate if the three countries can work together for peace, prosperity and stability of the region.

Prime Minister Gilani invited the Russian Prime Minister to visit Pakistan, which he accepted. The dates would be worked out by the respective foreign ministries of the two countries.

 

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Reader Comments (12)

  • rikky
    Nov 8, 2011 - 11:35PM

    FTA with Russia,are you serious?You already have FTA with china and it has destroyed your market.LOL wait a minute if you think Russia will Favorite pakistan and not India because this FTA..This is stupid.So much hate for India that you are Destroyed you country and still doing it just to give little pain to India.Pakistan is trying to make an organization with Russia and China and want to stand against USA.are your leader mad?Even China don’t want to go against USA.
    Country who can’t even pay their bill don’t play such big and dangerous game.

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  • Tariq Shah
    Nov 9, 2011 - 12:52AM

    calm down, FTA is good for Pakistan, you dont need to worry. Wow, we didnt know you Indians were so insecure, its not like Russia is Indias wife and Pakistan is stealing her.

    This is the world of realpolitik, where the US and China also encourage Pakistan to join FTA with Russia, this is a win win for all involved.Recommend

  • Louis Farrakhan
    Nov 9, 2011 - 1:40AM

    Mashalla!

    MLK king had a dream to give Black people and equal rights!

    I had a dream that Pakistan and Russia would unite! Thanks to Allah this dream has come true! Asia is indeed the future! As a Pakistani-Muslim, I also consider the Indians as my Family! We have been together for 1000 of years and only divided for 64 years! If you do the calculation then Pakistan and India have only separated – not divorced! Surely we will unite again and out do the Romeo and Juliet story!

    Allah Bless Russia, China and it’s Allies!

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  • Nov 9, 2011 - 1:49AM

    @rikky – seriously don’t u guys have anything in India than being obsessive with Pakistan? does this news item even for once mention the word India? get over your self!

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  • raja drone mai aajaaaa
    Nov 9, 2011 - 2:41AM

    @ rikky………………. chill out.

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  • It Is Economy Stupid
    Nov 9, 2011 - 3:20AM

    “currency swap arrangement” One million Pakistani Rupee for one Ruble?

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  • Ex
    Nov 9, 2011 - 6:00AM

    Is India mentioned in this article ? No so why are Indiabs so scared ?

    Pakistan will sign fta with Russia and soon Japan

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  • Straight_Talk
    Nov 9, 2011 - 8:46AM

    This i think is basically a Pakistani initiative. Russia has some very fundamental differences with Pakistan. As the USA moves away from it Pakistan needs to balance that void. China is not willing to do that beyond a certain extent and in any case is also not capable of fully doing that. Pakistan, it seem, is trying to club China and Russia with few other countries to achieve that balance. In the recent past Pakistan has been into a diplomatic over time to plug this void. It went to Saudi Arabia and the middle east, Iran, Turkey, Russia other than China. Nobody is committing anything. That is because for all these nations their relationship with USA and the NATO countries is also very important if not more important than the relationship with Pakistan. I think this strategy will not work. If Pakistan presses harder everybody will start playing with Pakistan. China has already played its game which some Pakistanis are only getting to understand now. Given a chance Russia will also like to have a market of 180 million.

    Moreover Russia need to have a control over the future route of Central Asian products from Pakistani ports. This will be their way of keeping Central Asian countries dependent on itself for outside contacts. For this Russia will need to get close to Pakistan to balance Pakistani closeness to China. I think Russia is aiming to grow its trade surplus with Pakistan to a level that Pakistan will become dependent on Russian trade concessions. Couple this with the fact that Russia can in future potentially supply higher technology ( which Sino-Pak friendship cannot ensure ) Russia can have a huge strategic leverage over Pakistan.

    I must conclude by saying that this not something very grave. These are very common moves in international politics. I am commenting on this because Pakistan is approaching from a position of weakness. Militarily Pakistan is respected. So nobody would meddle there. Economically it is weak. Pakistani businesses are not strong. Pakistani research is nowhere. So everybody will tighten their noose there be it China, Russia or the USA.

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  • Karachi Muhajir
    Nov 9, 2011 - 8:50AM

    What is wrong Rikky? A FTA is just that; A Free Trade Agreement.

    This has got nothing to do with the so called “real motive” of Pakistan as you are portraying.

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  • Akram Khan
    Nov 9, 2011 - 9:41AM

    We have to implement the TAPI n CASA-10000 as soon as possible. Some hardware from Russia plus counter terrorism tech, that we needed so badly from any quarter is appreciated. We need to bring in China also in this mega project.

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  • antanu g
    Nov 9, 2011 - 9:23PM

    @rikky:
    where does india come in the entire issue…its about bilateral relations between RUSSIAN and PAK…why brong india in it? I wonder why we Indians are so much obessed with PAK

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  • A.Khan
    Nov 9, 2011 - 11:37PM

    @rikky:
    well Germany played key role in ww2 against USA or vice versa. Today both are doing healthy business with each other. Things have changed mr. Its the world of globalisation not making any block or something. Even Germany is doing good business with Russia who were worst counters of the history during ww2.

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