Moscow, Islamabad are in talks about Putin's first visit to Pakistan

Islamabad: Moscow and Islamabad are in discussions to finalise plans for Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to Pakistan this year, according to a Sunday media report.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has already extended a formal invitation to Putin, according to a report, adding that Imran Khan reiterated the invitation during their recent telephone conversation.

According to the Pakistani newspaper, Putin's visit had been discussed for two years but was unable to take place due to a variety of factors, including the COVID-19 pandemic. The report added that  Moscow also wants the Russian president to announce "big-ticket projects" or other initiatives during his final visit to Pakistan.

Pakistan and Russia signed an agreement last year for the construction of a 1,100-kilometer-long gas pipeline connecting Karachi and Lahore.According to Pakistani media reports, the signing of the Pakistan Steam Gas Pipeline in July last year increased the likelihood of Putin visiting Pakistan. Pakistan is eager for President Putin to inaugurate the more than USD 2 billion gas pipeline project, which will connect Karachi and Kasur.

According to the newspaper, this is a signature project that Moscow and Islamabad intend to undertake in order to usher in a new era of bilateral relations. The project was not only economically significant for Pakistan, but also strategically significant, as per  report, citing officials familiar with the development.

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