Pak­istan-turk­menistan Re­la­tions

The Diplomatic Insight - - Editor’s Desk -

Is­lam, geopol­i­tics, and nat­u­ral gas de­ter­mine re­la­tions be­tween Pak­istan and Turk­menistan. Both coun­tries es­tab­lished for­mal diplo­matic ties on 10 May 1992. Re­gion­al­ism also bonds both coun­tries. The ten-mem­ber Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tionOr­ga­ni­za­tion (ECO) en­gages them, be­sides the 56- mem­ber Or­ga­ni­za­tion of Is­lamic Co­op­er­a­tion (OIC). Whilst Pak­istan is an Ob­server in the Shang­hai Co­op­er­a­tion Or­ga­ni­za­tion (SCO), Turk­menistan is a Guest At­ten­dant in the or­ga­ni­za­tion. How­ever, it is largely the nat­u­ral gas that pushes re­la­tions be­tween the two coun­tries to a much stronger foot­ing. This idea is there for quite some­time since the lat­ter's in­de­pen­dence in 1992. Turk­menistan is an im­por­tant mem­ber of the Cen­tral Asian Re­publics and could play a vi­tal role in bridg­ing the re­gion with the rest of the world. Turk­menistan shares ge­o­graph­i­cal prox­im­ity with Pak­istan. Pak­istan is fac­ing chronic short­age of gas for in­dus­try and con­sumers. Gov­ern­ment has been com­ing on gas con­ser­va­tion strat­egy, which is fur­ther detri­men­tal to the eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment process. For Pak­istan to meet its gas short­age, Iran and Turk­menistan are two po­ten­tial sup­pli­ers. In spite of com­pli­cated geo-pol­i­tics sur­round­ing the con­struc­tion of gas pipe­line pro­ject in the re­gion, Pak­istan is go­ing ahead with Iran al­ready and now with Turk­menistan. The coun­try is the fourth largest pro­ducer of nat­u­ral gas in the world af­ter Rus­sia, Iran, and Qatar. Saudi gas pro­duc­tion fall be­hind of Turk­menistan and the coun­try has the po­ten­tial to pro­vide the sup­ply of nat­u­ral gas to coun­tries in Europe such as Turkey, Ro­ma­nia, and Hun­gary. China is also in­ter­ested to buy the nat­u­ral gas fromTurk­menistan. The two-day visit of Turk­menistan's Pres­i­dent Gur­ban­guly Berdimuhame­dow on 14-15 Novem­ber (2011) was highly cru­cial from this per­spec­tive of met­ing Pak­istan grow­ing gas needs and to meet the chal­lenge in the near fu­ture. P r e s i d e n t Asif Al i Zar­dari and P r e s i d e n t Berdy­mukhamme­dov vowed to widen co­op­er­a­tion with a fo­cus on ex­pand­ing trade and eco­nomic ac­tiv­i­ties. They agreed to com­bat ter­ror­ism, check il­licit traf­fick­ing of weapons, nar­cotic drugs, il­le­gal mi­gra­tion and other crimes. Pro­mot­ing re­la­tions in fields of cul­ture, sci­ence, ed­u­ca­tion, art, and tourism were also came for con­sid­er­a­tion. The two sides agreed to start direct air-links be­tween Pak­istan and Turk­menistan­which would fa­cil­i­tate to­wards de­vel­op­ing a trade cor­ri­dor in the re­gion. The other four agree­ments and MoUs signed by the two s i d e s were re­lated to co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the coun­tries' for­eign min­istries, agree­ment on co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the As­so­ci­ated Press of Pak­istan (APP) and the Turk­men News State Ser­vice, an MoU on co­op­er­a­tion be­tween Pak­istan's Min­istry of com­merce and Min­istry of Trade and For­eign Eco­nomic Re­la­tions of Turk­menistan and a n MoU o n cul­tural co­op­er­a­tion. Pres­i­dent Zar­dari also pro­posed that the two coun­tries may en­ter into a cur­rency swap agree­ment, pref­er­en­tial tar­iff ar­range­ment and a free trade agree­ment to fur­ther en­hance bi­lat­eral trade and in­vest­ment ties. Turk­menistan has the po­ten­tial and ready to sup­ply 1,000 MW to Pak­istan.

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