“Much higher, much bigger”: During his meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister, Putin highlights the potential for economic cooperation
ISLAMABAD: The potential for economic cooperation with Pakistan is “much higher, much bigger” than at present and the two countries will discuss measures to strengthen their relations, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a meeting with the Pakistani Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar in Beijing. , where the two leaders participate in the Belt and Road Forum.
Pakistan and Russia recently moved to improve relations, with Islamabad receiving the first shipments of Russian crude under a deal struck between the two countries earlier this year. Last month, Pakistan also received its first shipment of liquefied petroleum gas from Moscow.
“Trade between our countries has increased and reached good levels,” Putin told Kakar on the sidelines of the forum, as the two leaders sat opposite each other.
“Our potential for economic cooperation, our potential is much higher, much greater and we will discuss it… I hope that we can also listen to your colleagues and exchange our visions on how and what additional measures could be taken. taken to strengthen our cooperation in all areas.
Kakar told the Russian president Islamabad and Moscow had a convergence of interests, particularly on the issue of terrorism, which deserved a “more regional and common approach”.
“I think we are the first to have to deal with the implications (of terrorism), so we should be the first to take the initiative,” Kakar said, adding that the two countries should increase their coordination and cooperation in matters of defence, intelligence and the fight against terrorism. -terrorism.
Kakar told Putin that Pakistan was a “huge market” for Russia as an energy-deficient country with a population of 240 million.
Kakar arrived in Beijing on Monday to attend the Belt and Road Forum, which marks the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) championed by President Xi Jinping. Before his meeting with Putin, Kakar met the presidents of Sri Lanka and Kenya in side meetings, as well as other world leaders at a dinner hosted by the Chinese president at the Great Hall of the People.
The BRI is a plan for global infrastructure and energy networks that China launched a decade ago to connect Asia with Africa and Europe by land and sea routes. But critics see the plan – billed as recreating the ancient Silk Road to boost global trade – as a tool for China to expand its geopolitical and economic influence.
Under the BRI, Beijing has pledged more than $60 billion for energy, infrastructure and other projects in Pakistan.