ISLAMABAD - Pakistan and Russia are likely to finalise Moscow-funded Lahore-Karachi gas pipeline during their upcoming visit to China, where the top leadership of both countries would assemble to participate in the Victory Day Parade, scheduled on September 3.
The project has already been finalised, there is a green signal from both the sides; in upcoming meeting in Beijing, both countries would reach a date to sign the documents, said a diplomatic source.
He said that during the meeting supply of Russian helicopters to Islamabad would also discuss further along with the topics of mutual interest and bilateral trade.
Top leaders from 30 countries, including Russia, Venezuela and Sudan, will attend, and 17 countries will contribute troops in a grand military parade through Beijing’s Tiananmen Square on Sept. 3, to celebrate the 70th anniversary China’s victory in World War 2. Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced to participate in this mega international event.
At the invitation of President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping, Putin will visit China to take part in the events commemorating the 70th anniversary of China’s victory in the War of Resistance against Japan and the end of World War II”, the president’s website announced on Thursday. Sources claim Pakistani troops will be taking part in the event along with a high profile Pakistani delegation. Pakistan has yet to announce the details of the delegation.
The meetings with Pakistani counterparts could be side meeting, but both the leaders would have time to discuss the project in detail and a further breakthrough is expected, source said. Russia is investing a generous $2 billion in Pakistan to build a 1,100-kilometre pipeline from southern port city of Karachi to Lahore to transport liquefied natural gas.
According to sources the pipeline would be laid by Russian company Rostak, the largest customs and logistics operator in the North West of Russia. The LNG pipeline deal was finalised in a recent meeting in Moscow and in upcoming meeting both the countries have to sign a government-to-government basis deal.
According to Ministry of Petroleum officials, Pakistan’s existing pipeline network has the capacity to transport 320 million cubic feet of gas per day (mmcfd) in re-gassified LNG. Consumption in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, as well as upper Sindh, however, exceeds 3,000 mmcfd, that’s why new infrastructure is badly needed.
The formal agreement between the two sides is expected to be signed in next meeting, following which Pakistan will sign a commercial agreement with a Russian firm that Moscow will identify as its preferred contractor to build the pipeline. According to the agreement, the contract will be awarded without any formal bidding process.
According to sources the two countries would further discuss modalities of delivery of Russian helicopters to Pakistan in the upcoming meeting.
This is going to be one of the major deals between Pakistan and Russia after the collapse of USSR and it is the first drop of rain, in future Russia is looking to have more economic and trade related relations with Pakistan, source said.
According to sources the contract called “Pilot Contract” for the delivery of four Russian Mi-35 helicopters to Pakistan could be expanded, source said quoting Head of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Second Asia Department Zamir Kabulov.
He added that in upcoming meetings Moscow and Islamabad are discussing possible supplies of Russian defensive weapons to Pakistan.
A contract for four Mi-35M helicopters was signed by Russia’s state arms exporter Rosoboronexport and Pakistan’s Ministry of Defense, in August, he said.