The Vladimir Putin led Russian government is planning to export gas to India through its huge reserves in Iran via the route of Gwadar, defying the resistance from Washington and other international players. The Russian plan would not only benefit India, but the offshore gas pipeline would also pump gas in fuel-strapped Pakistan as the Kremlin is exploring new markets fearing it may lose energy markets in Europe following a long tussle with the United States and the European Union.
Detailing the new strategy mulled over by Kremlin, a senior Pakistani government official revealed that Russia was even ready to finance the feasibility study on the viability of the offshore pipeline adding that the bigwigs in Islamabad were also briefed about the plan. ‘US knew about the gas reserves held by Russia in Iran, which was the reason why Washington opposed the IP gas pipeline’ said the official as quoted by the source. Surprisingly, the official said that India dubbed an arch-nemesis of Pakistan was ready to purchase gas from Russia through Pakistan’s Gwadar, considering it a safe option.
Despite international hindrances, the project appears to be on the cards because India has already signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Russia for gas import. Separately, Pakistan and Russia have recently inked a MoU for gas supply under an inter-governmental agreement. Moreover, Pakistan and Russia have agreed to award a contract for building a liquefied natural gas (LNG) pipeline between Karachi and Lahore to a Russian company. The Economic Coordination Committee has already okayed kicking off negotiations on gas import from Russia.