Pakistan Promoting Regionalism
Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar has stated that Pakistan plans to go ahead with projects with Iran and the nation will not succumb to any external pressure in this regard. Hillary Clinton had warned last week on invoking the Iran Sanctions Act, if Pakistan proceeds with the project.
Khar added that Iran and Pakistan have developed a roadmap for cooperation and collaboration in the domains of energy, connectivity and trade. “The projects which were decided with Iran include the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, transmission of electricity and upgrading the connectivity and trade between the two countries,” she said.
Commenting on trade liberalization with India, Khar emphasized Pakistan’s commitment to economic development. She said, “The aim of Pakistan is to work the geo-economics of this region in our advantage rather than our disadvantage because Pakistan has always been a supporter of regional connectivity and enhancement.”
On the recently held trilateral summit between Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan, Khar commented the talks would result in peace and stability in the region and were “constructive, cordial and forward looking.”
What If Iran Is Attacked?
Pakistan thinks that any aggression against Iran would spell disaster for the region and will not participate. Speaking to journalists in Multan, Hina Rabbbani Khar commented, “This region cannot afford further aggressions” and Pakistan will not support any military intervention.
Iran Offers Help, Russia Wants to Join IP Project
Meanwhile, Iran has agreed to export 80,000 barrels of crude oil per year to Pakistan. Additionally, Pakistan’s Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Dr. Asim Hussain has revealed that Iran will also pay $250 million for the Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline Project. He added that a Pakistani delegation will visit Iran in March to finalize the deal and the tender for the project will be issued soon.
On the other hand, Russia has also shown interest to join. The country has asked Pakistan for preferential treatment by awarding Gazprom the work related to building the infrastructure for the project, to cost about $1.2 billion, without going through the bidding process.
What About India, China And Turkey?
US Secretary of State stated recently that US is having “very intense and very blunt” conversations with India, China and Turkey on reducing their dependence on Iranian oil.
She said the American “expectation and the direction” is to “see significant reductions”. India constitutes 12 percent while China makes up 22 percent of Iran’s total export.
US is working to assist these countries in finding alternatives and has expressed satisfaction with the measures taken by India to reduce dependence on Iran for its energy needs. She added that some progress has also been by China with regard to sanctions. China is reaching out to Saudis and others, to compensate for the loss for loss of imports from Iran.
Hillary added that although the public statements do not show this, the governments and business sectors of these countries are taking actions to bolster sanctions.