Pakistan, Russia agree to take bilateral ties to new heights

Astana: Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif held a bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin wherein both the leaders reaffirmed their desire to take the bilateral relations to the new heights by enhancing cooperation in multiple spheres.

During the meeting that took place on the sidelines of the SCO Summit, the two leaders took a comprehensive review of bilateral relations and agreed that there was a healthy growth in the relations between two sides and that the high-level interactions and cordial political relations had set the stage for translating political goodwill into a substantive economic partnership.

They viewed that current state of relations between Pakistan and Russia was characterized by mutual trust, commonality of interest, better understanding and convergence of views on important issues like regional security, combating terrorism, drug tracking and greater economic cooperation.

Both sides were also working closely to further expand cooperation in educational and cultural fields and agreed to work on concrete proposals for the next session of Pakistan-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, and Technical Cooperation which will take place in Moscow in December this year.

It was also noted that the Joint Working Group on Energy was an appropriate mechanism to reinforce existing cooperation in energy sector. The strong interest of Russian companies and enterprises in the energy sector of Pakistan was also highlighted.

Russia is already engaged in installation of LPG Air Mix Plants in Pakistan and establishment of a 600MW combined cycle power plant at Jamshoro.

Both leaders agreed to fast-track the implementation of North-South Gas Pipeline, the agreement for which was signed in October 2015 between two sides.

The two sides also reviewed defence relations during recent years.

The first-ever Pakistan-Russia Joint Military Exercise ‘Friendship 2016’ was seen as a manifestation of growing defense and counter- terrorism cooperation which could contribute towards promoting peace and stability in South and Central Asian regions.

The two sides also benefited from the joint counter-narcotics naval exercise ‘Arabian Monsoon’ in the Arabian Sea in October 2014 and December 2015 respectively.

While discussing the regional issues focused on Afghanistan the Prime Minister Sharif reiterated that a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan was important for Pakistan’s own, progress and stability. He said Pakistan welcomed any peace initiative that could lead to peace and stability in Afghanistan.

The Russian President  also highlighted the fact that the simultaneous admission of Pakistan and India into SCO would improve prospects of better relations between the two countrie

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