Russia-Pakistan ties on a new fruitful path
A mutual desire is now reflected on both sides to advance this relationship for the benefit of their two people, and for the two countries, neighbours for all practical purposes, divided by a thin corridor of territory. Nevertheless the intentions are now clear. Both Zardari and Gilani were received with cordiality, and now the visit to Pakistan of President Vladimir Putin is keenly aawaited here, and may well materialise coming autumn. The Russian diplomats in Pakistan too are eager to help achieve this goal and have been doing their best to establish a rapport at public level for quite sometime now.
The Russian Consul General in Karachi Andrey Demidov has been inviting people from different shades of opinion for receptions and get-togethers, and on Monday, hosted the Russian National day with great enthusiasm at the consulate. Acting Governor Nisar Khuhro was the chief guest. It was a great party,warm and full of feelings. There were people like Kuwait Consul General Nassir Al-Muttairi, the Turkish Consul General, the British Deputy High Commissioner in Karachi Francis Campbell, The French Consul General, Indonesian Consul general Rossaili, Sri Lankan Consul General D W Jindasa, Sharon of US consulate, Pakistan’s former high commissioner in UK, Kader Jaffer, leading businessman Majyd Aziz Ballagamwalla, the ever green, and cheerful, Begum Salma Ahmad, media men, Kazi Asaz Abid editor in chief of daily Ibrat, the oldest and the largest Sindhi newspaper,all were there.
Thet talked mostly about the disturbed Pakistan conditions, and some diplomats looked worried over the spate of unchecked killings in Karachi, wanting to know the factors or reasons behind it. None had a perfect answer. Lot of guesswork were put forward, But that is natural, because officially, nothing specific has been said so far. In his speech in English The Russian CG remarked that every year in June we celebrate the National Day of new Russia – the Russia Day. “On this occasion we look at the results of our work. When we are talking about economic results of 2011 I would like to stress that we have nothing to be ashamed of, because these are good results.
And these results are primarily the results of our people’s hard work in all sectors of industry and public service” He added that “ In the past four years Russia has built and commissioned more than 2,000 plants and production lines in various industries, including the pharmaceutical industry, IT and Nan technology, construction materials and timber processing. In 2011 more than 60 % of Russian enterprises invested in upgrading fixed assets, technological re-equipment and greater energy efficiency. The inflation in the past four years has been reduced from 13,6 % to 6,1 %.” He felt and remarked that Russia’s GDP was higher than before the crisis.
This means that the national economy eventually recovered from the consequences of the recession of 2008 – 2009. For example Russia’s GDP totaled 41.421 trlllion roubles in 2011, up from 41.277 trln roubles in 2008. Today we have the highest economic growth rates in the G8 and one of the highest among the world major economies. It is 4,3 %. We are the third among major economies . He said that” Russia is showing positive dynamics on all key indicators of development without exception, whereas in some countries the crisis has developed into a chronic condition, producing a protracted recession and growing unemployment.
We have overcome the crisis, while avoiding serious risks and a debt trap. We have preserved the stability of our national currency and the budget system. He felt happy that Russia is the only G8 country without a budget deficit in 2011. In fact we even have a small surplus. As of April 1, 2012 Russia’s international reserves amounted to more than $ 513.9 bln. We have the world’s third largest foreign exchange reserve after China and Japan. After highlighting the achievements of his country and its people, he revealed that” Soon a roadmap for all initiatives in industrial and economic development will be announced. In this roadmap we will focus on the issues of strategic, fundamental importance that have to do with our historical prospects as a nation. He then spoke about Russian desire throughout its history to maintain its independence.” Russia has the world’s largest territory.
We must preserve and protect our territory from external threats and provide modern living and working conditions in all the country’s regions. Russia’s territory is a source of its potential. As for preserving cultural heritage, he said “we have approved the Russian Culture Federal Programme and are planning to allocate about 200 billion roubles on it. Emphasising that Russia had always pursued an independent foreign policy, he said his country has always had good relations with moderate representatives of slam, whose world outlook was close to the traditions of Muslims in Russia. We are ready to develop these contacts further. We are interested in stepping up our political, trade and economic ties with all Muslim countries.
He reminded his audience that “It is our firm conviction that in today’s world there is no alternative to a mutually beneficial cooperation with other countries in different spheres. This is our main approach toward the issue of bilateral relations between Russia and Pakistan. We believe that our relations should and can be mutually beneficial. The basic factor that enables us to seek closer ties is absence of a single political problem that divides us. “We in Russia recognize the important role of Pakistan in modern world. It is one of the leading states in Islamic world and the only Muslim nation possessing nuclear weapons. Pakistan plays vital role in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, SAARC and others.
We do not underestimate the role of Pakistan in ensuring regional stability and security in the settlement of Afghan issue in promoting regional economic integration. “Our political leaders meet on regular basis. During 2011 presidents of Russia and Pakistan met six times at the sidelines of different international forums. Both sides emphasize the importance of developing bilateral economic cooperation and trade. The fields of energy, steel production, telecommunications, space technologies, oil and gas were mentioned as leading areas of cooperation. In the past we had a very good example of mutually beneficial cooperation –that is the Pakistani Steel Mills. And I want to emphasize that the project was built when bilateral relations were not very bright.
The enterprise was inaugurated more than 30 years ago. And it is still operational. The machinery built in the Soviet Union, although old, is still working without any serious technical problem. He said that the Pakistani Still Mills needs to be upgraded. Of course new machinery is to be supplied. The production level is to be brought up. And we are prepared to come and to modernize the project. He stressed that that the follow-up of our bilateral cooperation around the Pakistani Steel Mills can move forward the whole complex of our bilateral cooperation. On energy crisis in Pakistan he said that “ we all know that Pakistan is experiencing energy deficit. But let us not forget that Russia is the world’s biggest energy supplier.
Our assistance in the field of energy can be rendered in the form of oil and gas supplies. In October last year Russia rendered emergency assistance to flood victims in Sindh. Two Russian cargo jet planes delivered to Karachi 84 tons of food supplies, tents, water pumps, blankets etc. He referred to President Zardari and Prime minister Gilani’s visit to his country, and also of the foreign minister Hina Rabbanii Khar. He met her counterpart Sergey Lavrov. In the course of the talks, the two foreign ministers have admitted that the contacts between Russia and Pakistan are getting more and more active. These contacts cover more and more fields of activities. We have an intense political dialogue including the dialogue on the top level.
There are good prospects for bilateral cooperation between Russia and Pakistan in realizing big transnational energy project, connecting Central Asia and South Asia. We hope the agreements reached during those visits will be materialized for the benefit of our two countries 6 and peoples. As you all know the Prime Minister Gilani during the telephone conversation with Mr. Vladimir Putin after the latter’s victory at the Presidential Elections in Russia in March 2012 invited him to visit Pakistan. The invitation was accepted. We expect to see our new President in Pakistan in September this year. Russia intends to continue promoting its security and protecting its national interests by actively and constructively engaging in global politics and in efforts to solve global and regional problems.
We are ready to work for mutually beneficial cooperation and open dialogue with all our foreign partners. We aim to understand and take into account the interests of our partners, and at the same time we ask that our own interests be respected. It is symbolic that we are embarking on this work in a year that has been declared the Year of Russia’s History.
The destiny of Russia and its thousand-year journey have been determined by historic milestones. Our generation must be worthy of that great history and of our great people who created this great country. Today we, like our ancestors, centuries ago, must draw inspiration from the faith in Russia and love for Russia.