President Zardari of Pakistan was in Russia on 11th and 12th May 2011 at the invitation of the Russian President, Dmitri Medvedev. The two leaders discussed a range of topics over lunch and witnessed the signing of the intergovernmental agreement on air traffic.
Also under consideration was a Memorandum of Understanding between the Russian Ministry of Energy and the Pakistani Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resource, as well as a Memorandum of Understanding between the Russian and Pakistani Agriculture Ministries.
The Pakistani delegation discussed the upgrade of the Pakistan Steel Mill, the building of the TAIPI gas pipe line, Pakistan’s full membership of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Russian participation in the building of a new city in Sindh Zulfikarabad, special economic zones in Pakistan to encourage Russian investments,the upgrade of old power plants in Pakistan, the development of coal fired power plants and a power transmission line between Tajikistan and Pakistan. President Zardari also emphasized currency swap agreements and the opening of branches of a Russian bank in Pakistan and of a Pakistani bank in Russia.
President Zardari invited Russian companies to look at the Pakistan Steel Mill and make proposals to revamp it as a joint venture project. The government wishes to increase production capacity at the plant to 7 million tons a year. President Zardari described the opportunity as a “win win both for Pakistan and Russia”.
President Zardari said after the meeting:
“First of all, I must thank you on behalf of myself and the people of Pakistan for the warm welcome I have had in your beautiful country.
“As far as I am concerned, this is a very historic visit, a beginning of a new relationship with Russia. The last official visit to Russia was by my late father-in-law 27 years ago. It is time that we recognise the importance of each of our countries in the regional context and further our cooperation in the economic field and in the political field.
“I am carrying with me the wishes of my Parliament, my Prime Minister, my Government and the hopes of my people to have better relations with Russia and to define a new relationship in the regional context. The world recognises that all nations and countries that are prosperous, are prosperous because of bilateral relationships and bilateral trade among neighbours. We are very close neighbours, we are in the same region. Our borders don’t touch but our hearts do.
“I feel there’s great room for improvement, and it is a great moment for me and I am grateful to His Excellency Mr President. It is his friendship and it is his graciousness that brings our two countries together today for the future and for the coming generations, and history will remember it as such.”
Defence minister Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar, Minister of State Hina Rabbani Khar and The Pakistani Ambassador in Moscow, Khalid Khattak were present at the first meeting between the leaders. The second larger meeting at the delegation level was attended by Petroleum Advisor Dr Asim, Secretary Commerce Zafar Mahmood, Secretary Production Aziz Bilor and Spokesperson Farthatullah Babar as well as the two national leaders.
President Medvedev has already accepted an invitation to visit Pakistan in the future.