ISLAMABAD: Russian Ambassador Danila V. Ganich on Tuesday said that Russia is eager to invest $1.7 billion in the Karachi-Lahore gas pipeline.
“While the volume of trade has been promising at $500 million, trade cooperation has not corresponded to its potential. The low level of direct commercial ties and insufficient knowledge about each other’s business practices, capabilities and language barriers continue to hamper progress in this much-needed area,” the Ambassador lamented.
He was addressing a seminar titled ‘Conversation with Ambassadors on Pakistan-Russia Relations: Prospects for the Future’ organised by the Centre for Aerospace and Security Studies (CASS).
Detailing his views on the regional situation, Ambassador Ganich said there should not be law of the jungle in the international system.
He said Russia, like Pakistan, does not want an arms race in the region and is against an arms race in outer space as well, adding that both Pakistan and Russia have strong reasons for wanting peace and stability in Afghanistan.
“In this regard, Russia will facilitate any reasonable solution for peace and reconciliation. Unfortunately, prospects for the intra-Afghan dialogue remain bleak for the foreseeable future,” he added.
Ambassador Ganich also said that Russia intends to increase the number of scholarships offered to Pakistani students since cooperation in this area is of great interest to both states, but the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted this plan. “We intend to promote greater and more mutually beneficial cultural and scientific ties with Pakistan,” he said.
Moderated by CASS Senior Researcher Sitara Noor, the discussion was followed by a candid and open question/answer session between the Russian ambassador and participants.
Delivering his concluding remarks, CASS President Air Chief Marshal (R) Kaleem Saadat provided a historical overview of Pakistan’s relationship with Russia and shared that while Pak-Russia ties may have had their ups and downs, they are deeply rooted dating back to the time of the Czars and Khans of Kalat.
He concluded that both Pakistan and Russia need to set their own house in order and undertake internal reforms and patience to see them take effect.