Pakistan is boosting diplomatic relations with several Central Asian countries. It was reflected in the high-level meetings with heads of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Belarus when they visited Pakistan almost back-to-back. Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, has turned his full attention to the Central Asian states and is pursuing strong bonds that could lead to prosperous future. Key talks, in pursuit of that future, were held between PM Nawaz and Tajik President Imomali Rahmon, Belarus Prime Minister Andrei Kobyakov, and Uzbek President Islam Krimov. The talks focused primarily on energy, which included electricity, natural gas, and petroleum, among other sectors. Discussions on heavy industries, expansion of trade ties, avoiding double taxation, banking and lowering of custom duties were also held.
Pakistan is looking to in talks with said Central Asian in order to potentially set up a new economic hub. Several agreements were signed with China-Pak Economic Corridor (CPEC) being the center of attention. CPEC will begin from Gwadar situated towards the southern end of Pakistan connecting with the Arabian Sea providing easy access to the Middle East and the Gulf. Towards the north, it will connect with the Central Asian countries, ultimately reaching all the way up to the EU. CPEC will also see to the revival of the famous Silk Road which is used for trade, and Central Asian and South Asian (CASA) were big players in that trade.
During the bilateral meeting between said Central Asian countries and Pakistan, PM Nawaz conveyed the estimated amount of foreign investment flowing into the country. Pakistan is currently looking to attract more funding for CPEC which currently stands at $46 billion, all of which came from China. Reportedly, for CPEC and other projects associated with it, Pakistan is looking to bring in another $12 billion. Nawaz said,
China and Pakistan already are negotiating upping the CPEC funding from the original $46 billion by around $12 billion.
It was reported that the Chinese President Xi is completely onboard with this development since it involved the evolution of CPEC projects and further investments from CASA, eventually linking CPEC to the EU.
Summary of Discussion with Central Asian States
The President of Tajikistan Emomali Rehman and PM Nawaz of Paistan agreed to initiate several projects to including energy, and communication. Both countries vowed to expand trade and bilateral investment. President Rehman ensured PM Nawaz that the Tajik-Afghan-Pakistan electricity grid named CASA-1000 will commence in December and be completed on time to deliver 1,300 MW of electricity. The two leaders further agreed to build Gwadar-Peshawar-Kabul-Kunduz-Dushanbe route, Khunjrab-Kalasu-Murghab route, and Chitral-Eshkaaehm-Dushanbe route, all three of which will connect the two countries. In order for seamless implementation of these projects, the two countries signed 18 MoUs.
The visit of Belarus’ Prime Minister Kobyakov focused on trade and investment. PM Kobyakov expressed his desire for investment in Pakistan essentially in the heavy-machinery industry. The investments from Belarus would focus on assembly plants for tractors, dumpers, trucks and a complete range of agricultural technology and machinery as well as the hardware. This is especially useful for Pakistan given how the primary exports are all agricultural. Discussions were also held on industries such as oil, mining, tyre and transport. Oil extraction plants were also on the agenda.
Uzbekistan and Pakistan signed four agreements aimed at strengthening bilateral cooperation in foreign affairs, trade, and economy. The two countries also signed an agreement that would lead to avoidance of double taxation on trade. Uzbekistan and Pakistan agreed to enhance bilateral trade.
It would seem that Pakistan is taking all the right initiatives for a prosperous future of Pakistan and development within the country. Even more so, Pakistan under the current military and civilian leadership is working hard to enhance bilateral relationships with neighboring countries which should eventually lead to mutual benefits for all involved. With CPEC and CASA, Pakistan is set to develop and strengthen diplomatic relations with several countries that could potentially benefit directly, and make new bonds and increase trade ties. Pakistan could well be on its way to become an economic hub.You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ for more updates. Otherwise fill in the subscription box above, or subscribe to our RSS Feed.